NATIONAL NEWS

House passes modified surveillance bill after it failed earlier this week

Apr 12, 2024, 11:12 AM

The dome of the U.S. Capitol is reflected in a window on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, in April 2...

The dome of the U.S. Capitol is reflected in a window on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, in April 2023. The House has put a modified surveillance bill on track for final passage as soon as April 12. Mandatory Credit: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/Reuters via CNN Newsource

(CNN) — The House on Friday passed a modified surveillance bill, just two days after an earlier version failed to advance in a public rebuke to GOP leadership.

The bill, which reauthorizes the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, now goes to the Senate ahead of an April 19 deadline.

The passage of the legislation is a win for House Speaker Mike Johnson – after GOP leadership’s defeat on the floor just two days ago – and comes as the Louisiana Republican faces direct challenges to his leadership. GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia filed a resolution last month that could force a vote to remove Johnson from the speakership, and Greene has been citing that threat to escalate pressure on Johnson over issues such as changes to the FISA reauthorization and aid to Ukraine.

Greene was seen on the House floor speaking to Johnson, who later told reporters the two spoke about “all sorts of things.”

“Marjorie and I agree on our conservative philosophy,” Johnson said. “We just have different ideas sometimes on strategy. The important part of governing in a time of divided government like we have is communication with members and understanding the thought process behind it, that they have a say in it.”

The new version of the FISA bill would be a two-year reauthorization instead of five years, meaning that if former President Donald Trump won the presidential election this year, the legislation would be up in time for Trump to overhaul FISA laws next time around. That change helped appease the conservative House members who originally opposed the bill, sinking it Wednesday.

Johnson organized a classified reading room off the House floor for members to view classified information ahead of Friday’s vote, according to a GOP leadership aide.

Johnson is also scheduled to meet with Trump in Florida later Friday.

As a rank-and-file member of the House, Johnson was opposed to the reauthorization of section 702 of FISA, explaining that only after receiving classified briefings did he gain a “different perspective.”

“When I was a member of (the House Judiciary Committee) I saw the abuses of the FBI, the terrible abuses over and over and over… and then when I became speaker I went to the SCIF and got the confidential briefing on sort of the other perspective on that to understand the necessity of section 702 of FISA and how important it is for national security,” the Louisiana Republican said earlier this week. “And it gave me a different perspective.”

“That’s part of the process, you have to be fully informed,” he added.

White House National Security communications adviser John Kirby reiterated the White House’s support for the reauthorization ahead of the final House floor vote expected later Friday.

“We strongly support the bipartisan effort here to get … 702 reauthorized and we even support – not all – but we support a lot of the reforms that are being considered,” Kirby told reporters Friday.

While Kirby would not say how a failure to reauthorize FISA or Section 702 would impact current surveillance efforts with regard to Iran, he did note the intelligence successes it has contributed to, calling it “critical for all threats.”

This story and headline been updated with additional developments.

CNN’s Aileen Graef contributed to this report.


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House passes modified surveillance bill after it failed earlier this week