House GOP Hit With Criticism For Backing Warrantless Surveillance

A surprising — or perhaps not so surprising — number of House Republicans are facing backlash for supporting the reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) without making the kind of changes that would have prevented the bill from allegedly being abused to spy on former President Donald Trump by nefarious actors in the U.S. government.

On Wednesday, only 19 Republican lawmakers teamed up with Democrats in voting against the FISA reauthorization, with most being members of the House Freedom Caucus.

An astonishing — again, maybe not so astonishing — 86 Republicans in the House voted against an amendment by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) that would have required the government to obtain a warrant before surveilling Americans’ communications.

While FISA authorizes surveillance of foreign nationals overseas, it has been used to spy on Americans who speak to individuals abroad — including former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The failed amendment vote was tied 212-212, with House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) casting the deciding vote against it. The list of 86 Republicans who opposed the warrant requirement includes several establishment figures like Reps. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) and Steve Scalise (R-LA).

Conservatives and progressives have condemned congressional leadership for resisting reforms that would have protected Americans’ privacy. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) said “this is how the Constitution dies” with the tied vote. Many commenters brought up ousted Rep. George Santos (R-NY) to heap even more blame on Republicans for this vote.

The FISA renewal ultimately passed the House 273-147, though it will face one more vote on Monday after Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) objected to the final passage.