House Passes Modified Bill To Renew FISA Surveillance Tool

Capitol United State.

Photo: ANDREY DENISYUK / Moment / Getty Images

The House of Representatives passed a modified bill to renew the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act on Friday (April 12). The passage of the bill comes two days after a group of conservative legislators blocked it, sparking outrage from both parties.

The program allows the government to surveil foreigners overseas who have suspected links to terrorism without a warrant. Section 702 allows the FBI to collect communications from specific targets, even if they are in contact with an American citizen.

An amendment to the bill that would have modified section 702 to require the FBI to get a warrant was defeated in a 212-212 vote, with House Speaker Mike Johnson casting the tie-breaking vote.

The authorization lasts only two years instead of five to accommodate the conservatives who blocked the bill. Republicans called it a victory because it would allow Donald Trump to help fix the bill if he wins reelection in November.

"We just bought President Trump an at-bat," Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz said. "The previous version of this bill would have kicked reauthorization beyond the Trump presidency. Now President Trump gets an at-bat to fix the system that victimized him more than any other American."

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