30 Senate Republicans Vote to Expand, Continue Warrantless Surveillance

A video surveillance unit is set up on the East Front of the Capitol as security officials
Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Thirty Senate Republicans, on Friday night, voted to continue warrantless surveillance and even expand the FBI’s surveillance authority.

The Senate passed H.R. 7888, the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act (RISAA), 60-34, with 30 Senate Republicans voting to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Section 702 is a surveillance authority that is meant to target foreign adversaries but often surveils Americans without a warrant.

The Senate, on Friday, also blocked many amendments sponsored by privacy-oriented Republicans and Democrats. The amendments sought to rein in Section 702.

The Senate blocked:

  • An amendment sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) that would require adequate disclosure of relevant information in the FISA. The Senate blocked it 40-53.
  • An amendment sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) that would prohibit warrantless access to Americans’ private communications. The Senate rejected it 42-50.
  • An amendment sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to prohibit the FISA from surveilling Americans. It failed, 11-81.
  • An amendment sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) to strike the expansion of companies that would have to comply with warrantless surveillance. It failed 34-58.
  • An amendment sponsored by Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) to strike the prohibition on political appointees being involved in the approval of FBI searches of the FISA database. It failed 17-75.
  • An amendment sponsored by Paul to add the Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act to bar intelligence and law enforcement agencies from obtaining Americans’ private information from third-party data brokers. It failed 31-61.

The 30 Senate Republicans who voted in favor of continuing warrantless surveillance are:

  1. John Barrasso (R-WY)
  2. John Boozman (R-AR)
  3. Katie Britt (R-AL)
  4. Ted Budd (R-NC)
  5. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
  6. Susan Collins (R-ME)
  7. John Cornyn (R-TX)
  8. Tom Cotton (R-AR)
  9. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
  10. Joni Ernst (R-IA)
  11. Deb Fischer (R-NE)
  12. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
  13. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
  14. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS)
  15. John Kennedy (R-LA)
  16. James Lankford (R-OK)
  17. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
  18. Jerry Moran (R-KS)
  19. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)
  20. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
  21. Pete Ricketts (R-NE)
  22. Jim Risch (R-ID)
  23. Mitt Romney (R-UT)
  24. Mike Rounds (R-SD)
  25. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
  26. Dan Sullivan (R-AK)
  27. John Thune (R-SD)
  28. Thom Tillis (R-NC)
  29. Roger Wicker (R-MS)
  30. Todd Young (R-IN)

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) raised concerns about the FISA bill’s inclusion of the amendment sponsored by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) and committee ranking member Jim Himes (D-CT).

Breitbart News has reported on this amendment and how it could dramatically expand the number of businesses and Americans that would have to comply with the government and provide warrantless access to their communications systems.

Essentially, the measure updates the definition of electronic service provider to include “any other service provider who has access to equipment that is being or may be used to transmit or store wire or electronic communications.”

Hawley referred to this as another FBI “power grab.”

Paul said in a statement after the vote, “Yet again the Senate was asked to consider the question: can liberty be exchanged for security? And sadly the majority of Senators said yes it can. Final FISA reauthorization passed once again.”

“Tonight the Senate passed the House-passed FISA expansion bill—after rejecting seven different amendments requiring a warrant and otherwise reforming FISA 702,” Lee wrote. “This is a horrible bill. It shows wanton disregard for the rights of Americans. This is not a day to celebrate.”

Wyden said in a statement after the vote:

The Senate waited until the 11th hour to ram through renewal of warrantless surveillance in the dead of night. But I’m not giving up. The American people know that reform is possible and that they don’t need to sacrifice their liberty to have security. It is clear from the votes on very popular amendments that senators were unwilling to send this bill back to the House, no matter how commonsense the amendment before them.

“Time after time, anti-reformers pledge that their band-aid changes to the law will curb abuses, and yet every time, the public learns about fresh abuses by officials who face little meaningful oversight,” Wyden added. “Those of us who believe liberty and security are not mutually exclusive have a lot of work to do.”

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


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