Speaker Mike Johnson Pulls Competing FISA Bills in Another Blunder

Mike Johnson
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) decided late Monday night to withdraw two FISA bills from consideration as House Republicans try to reauthorize and potentially reform a controversial deep state surveillance law.

Johnson, according to Punchbowl News, continues to face the “predominant” criticism of his speakership, that he is “either unwilling, unable, or disinterested in making big decisions:”

Johnson flip-flopped for a few weeks when it came to extending FISA, especially the controversial Section 702 provision.

Johnson first said he would extend FISA authority as part of the NDAA — but only until February. Then Johnson said he wouldn’t. And then finally, the speaker agreed to include a FISA extension in the NDAA package that will run until April.

Then, Johnson decided to put up the competing House Intelligence Committee and House Judiciary Committee bills on the floors simultaneously. The House would use a parliamentary procedure known as “Queen of the Hill,” wherein whichever bill gets the most votes would become the bill that gets sent to the Senate for consideration.

Although this allowed for Johnson to remain impartial, the battle between the Intel and Judiciary Republicans became an all-out shouting match during a House Republican Conference meeting on Monday night.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH), claimed without evidence, that the Judiciary Committee-advanced bill, the Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act, would eliminate provisions that the government uses to go after child pornographers.

Incensed by this claim, Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH), a Jordan ally and staunch privacy advocate, said Tuner was “fucking lying.”

Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) then tried to defuse the situation and said that the extension in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) should create enough time for lawmakers to strike a compromise.

However, the NDAA’s April extension would put the FISA battle right after Congress needs to figure out a government funding solution in January and February, Congress needs to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


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