Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) said that Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) killed the Constitution Friday by casting the tie-breaking vote against requiring warrants for searches of Americans’ communications.

Massie wrote, “This is how the Constitution dies. By a tie vote, the amendment to require a warrant to spy on Americans goes down in flames. This is a sad day for America. The Speaker doesn’t always vote in the House, but he was the tie breaker today. He voted against warrants.”

Sources familiar to Axios say that the Speaker was not the tie-breaking vote against warrant requirements; however, his vote against warrants still served as a tie-breaking vote to sink the amendment.

Massie spoke as the chamber tied on Rep. Andy Biggs’s (R-AZ) amendment to require a warrant for searches of Americans through Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Section 702 is a law that is meant to target foreign adversaries; however, it often surveils Americans’ communications without a warrant.

Americans overwhelmingly approve of warrant requirements. A YouGov poll commissioned by FreedomWorks and Demand Progress have found that 76 percent of Americans found that they back government agencies being required to obtain a warrant before searching Americans’ communications.

Johnson had once backed the USA RIGHTS Act, a bill that contained even stronger warrant requirements than the one Biggs had proposed.

“Today is a dark day for America,” Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX) said in a written statement after the vote. “It is no secret that the DOJ and the FBI have used and abused FISA to spy on not only the greatest president of my lifetime, Donald J. Trump, but spy on everyday Americans. I could not, in good conscience, vote to give our nation’s weaponized DOJ the power to mass surveil the American people without significant reforms, such as a warrant requirement.”

Watch: Jim Jordan: There are 204k Reasons to Oppose FISA Reauthorization


The leader of the House explained that his view on FISA had evolved after he received classified briefings on Section 702:

When I was a member of Judiciary I saw the abuses of the FBI, the terrible abuses over and over and over… and then when I became Speaker I went to the SCIF and got the confidential briefing on sort of the other perspective on that to understand the necessity of section 702 of FISA and how important it is for national security. And it gave me a different perspective.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) called this reversal “prime example” of the “D.C. cartel.”

Biggs said, “I think you get swept up in the D.C. cartel. I think they come and tell you that, that blood would be on your hands. And, so the cartel tries to intimidate, put fear into people. And, so some people forget why they were taking the original position.”

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