Eighty-Six House Republicans Vote for Warrantless Surveillance of Americans

Eighty-Six House Republicans Vote for Warrantless Surveillance of Americans

Sean Moran

Eighty-six House Republicans on Friday voted against an amendment to require a warrant for surveillance of Americans’ communications.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) proposed an amendment to the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act (RISAA), a bill that would reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Section 702 is a law that is meant to target foreign adversaries, but often surveils Americans’ private communications without a warrant.

The amendment tied at 212-212 in the House; a tie in the House means that the measure fails. Although Biggs’s amendment did receive support from a majority of Republicans, 86 House Republicans failed to support the proposal.

A warrant requirement is overwhelmingly backed by Americans. A YouGov poll commissioned by FreedomWorks and Demand Progress found that 76 percent of Americans support a warrant requirement, while only 12 percent oppose.

Only one member of House Republican leadership voted with the majority of the House Republican Conference on warrants requirements: House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN). Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), and House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) voted against the warrant requirement.

Johnson used to support closing the backdoor search loophole, or the ability to surveil Americans through Section 702, which is meant to target foreigners. However, he changed his mind after seeing a classified briefing after becoming Speaker.

The 86 House Republicans that voted for warrantless surveillance of Americans are:

Conservatives and progressives blamed congressional leadership for pushing against genuine privacy reform.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) 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.”

Demand Progress Policy Director Sean Vitka said in a statement after the vote:

House Leadership has pushed its thumb on the scale against privacy protections throughout this debate, as it has done for more than a decade. After wrongfully stopping the House Judiciary Committee’s legislation from reaching the floor, denying a vote on closing the data broker loophole, and rewarding the House Intelligence Committee for operating in staggeringly bad faith.

We applaud the leaders of the House Judiciary, including Reps. Andy Biggs, Pramila Jayapal, Jim Jordan, Jerry Nadler, Warren Davidson, and Zoe Lofgren, for fighting tirelessly for over a year to advance the serious privacy protections that the public overwhelmingly supports and deserves. Their efforts were heroic and fundamentally changed this debate, which is all the more impressive considering the deceit and dirty tricks wielded against reform over the past year.

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) wrote, “Here they go again, expanding FISA. Bipartisan skulduggery. A sad day for America.”

Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) wrote, “Today’s FISA warrant amendment vote was tied, which means every single vote was the deciding vote. Make your decisions about who represents you based on supporting your Constitutional rights.”

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

Original Article


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