House Passes FISA Extension After Warrant Requirement Defeated in Tie

U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) presides over the House of Representatives p
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The House passed a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) extension Friday after intense lobbying from the Biden administration overcame opposition that tanked the bill earlier this week.

The two-year extension passed handily 273 to 147. But a high-drama battle over an amendment offered by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) — during which Biden administration officials could be seen racing around the House chamber in an attempt to ensure the amendment’s defeat — dominated the day.

Andy Biggs

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) at the U.S. Capitol on March 28, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

That amendment, which would require a warrant for searching American citizens’ communications, was defeated in a 212 to 212 tie.

The White House lobbied intensely against the Biggs amendment. “Our intelligence, defense, and public safety communities are united: the extensive harms of this proposal simply cannot be mitigated,” an official statement from the Biden administration read. “Therefore, the Administration strongly opposes the amendment.”

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), who had supported a warrant requirement before ascending to Speaker, worked with Democrat leaders to kill the Biggs amendment. The two appeared to hold several votes in reserve, ready to vote against the amendment if necessary.

“You saw the leadership of both parties holding back votes to make sure that the amendment failed,” Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) said after the vote.


Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) on April 19, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Thirteen members and delegates — seven Republicans and six Democrats — did not vote on the amendment, although not all the absences were in town.

“You saw this race to the well at the end there to make sure that the Biden Administration won the vote, and you saw Joe Biden’s White House whipping votes on the Democrat side to make sure that the Biggs amendment wouldn’t go through,” Mace said.

The two-year extension must pass another procedural vote next week to be sent to the Senate, although that vote is expected to succeed easily.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has not announced his plans for considering the House extension. Those plans might depend on how he chooses to address an impeachment trial of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) at the U.S. Capitol building on March 20, 2024, in Washington, DC. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The House is expected to officially send impeachment articles to the Senate on Tuesday.

“If they amend one word of it, and they probably can’t help themselves, it will come back here for a vote,” said Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) of the FISA extension, “so we may get another bite at this apple.”

FISA’s current authorization expires April 19.

Bradley Jaye is a Capitol Hill Correspondent for Breitbart News. Follow him on X/Twitter at @BradleyAJaye.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.