- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 28, 2020

The House will vote Thursday to reauthorize controversial government surveillance powers, the office of Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said in a statement.

A last-minute revolt by progressive Democrats and Republicans forced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to postpone the vote late Wednesday.

“Members are advised that a vote on passage of [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] reauthorization is expected to occur today,” the Maryland Democrat’s office said in a statement.

A voting time had not yet been scheduled as of early Thursday morning.

As lawmakers left the House late Wednesday, it was unclear if a vote to reauthorize three FISA provisions would happen. Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, when asked if a vote would happen Thursday, responded “We’ll see.”

The vote was pulled once it was clear that Democrats had lacked the votes with Republicans turning against the legislation after President Trump threatened to veto it.

With only a few, if any, Republicans supporting the measure and progressive Democrats refusing to get on board, Democratic leaders had no choice but to postpone the vote.

The House had passed a similar bill in March with 126 Republicans voting in favor. It went to the Senate where it was amended to curtail expansive government surveillance powers.

Since the Senate changed the bill, it had to return to the House where it was widely expected to pass again. However, 11th-hour opposition from President Trump and the Justice Department forced Republicans to abandon it.

Mr. Trump is still fuming over the FBI using the FISA program to surveil an aide to his 2016 campaign, Carter Page. He said he won’t sign the bill unless stronger reforms to protect Americans’ from potential abuses of the program are added.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has opposed the legislation for a different reason. A top Justice Department official said Wednesday the Senate amendments weaken the government’s ability to monitor suspected terrorists and other wrongdoers.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide