House To Continue Warrantless Surveillance on Americans?

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( – The House is poised to consider legislation as early as next week to renew the nation’s warrantless surveillance capabilities, marking a swift development following the Republicans’ previous inability to unite behind various proposals for reauthorizing this surveillance tool.

Congress , lat year, had to enact a temporary extension of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which permits the government to conduct surveillance on noncitizens located abroad.

The debate last year highlighted a division between Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee and those on the House Intelligence Committee. However, a working group has been working behind the scenes to reconcile the differences between the two proposed bills.

Insiders have characterized the legislation as a blend of the two prior proposals, leaning more towards the Intelligence Committee’s version, which proposed more extensive FBI reforms and restricted access to the 702 database, while still not mandating a warrant for searches.

One Republican insider suggested there’s about a “60/40” chance the bill will reach the House floor next week, as legislators rush to finalize the wording.

Another individual with knowledge of the bill mentioned that it’s likely to see numerous amendments, partly to give the entire House an opportunity to decide on whether to impose a warrant requirement for searching the 702 database—a move the intelligence community has strongly opposed.

House leaders had previously considered a straightforward vote solely on the warrant requirement. A proposal that frustrated some GOP members who urged Speaker Mike Johnson to choose between the two proposed paths.

With Section 702 due to expire in April, moving forward with a reauthorization bill in February would ensure it’s debated before a two-week break. After the recess, the legislative agenda is expected to be dominated by budget-related bills.

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