Speaker Johnson withdraws both House FISA bills

House Speaker Mike Johnson retracted both competing pieces of legislation that would have overhauled the federal government’s main spy power under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

After a heated exchange between members of the House Judiciary Committee, and the House Intelligence Committee, Mr. Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, decided to not allow either bill to be voted on this week, he made the decision.

In the beginning, both bills were to be presented on the floor of the lower chamber on Tuesday. The lawmakers would then vote on them, and the piece of legislation that received the most votes was to be sent up to the upper chamber. This legislative procedure is known as the “queen’s vote”.

According to a GOP source, however, the conference meeting turned for the worse. Rep. Warren Davidson, an Ohio Republican who supports the Judiciary Bill, accused Intelligence Chair Mike Turner of Ohio “f***ing lynching” about the Judiciary Bill.


Turner had earlier criticised the Judiciary for its FISA legislation. He said that it “spends more of time expanding the constitutional right of foreigners traveling in and out of the United States.” It creates civil liabilities for telecommunications firms that cooperate with our intelligence community on a voluntary basis.

He also said the Judiciary bill provides immunity from prosecution for some “horrific crimes” if they’re discovered using section 702 foreign intelligence-collection powers.

Two Republican members of Rules Committee were prepared to vote against the procedure.

Many members, including the former California Speaker Kevin McCarthy, advised Mr. Johnson to choose one bill and stick with it.

One lawmaker stated that Mr. McCarthy had urged him to have the two committees resolve their differences in order to create a single bill. This is similar to how Republicans’ H.R. The Secure Border Act 2 was created.

It is expected that the bills will be pushed back to next year. This could allow the panels to spend more time on one bill.

The bill of the Judiciary Committee has much stricter rules that require federal officials to have warrants before they can search the FISA database to intercept communications from foreigners.

The intelligence panel bill, however, would restrict the FBI’s ability to conduct “evidence-of-a crime” only queries.

The House will vote on the National Defense Authorization Act, Thursday. This includes a temporary extension of FISA to April 19.

Section 702 of FISA allows U.S. spying agencies to intercept foreign communications abroad. However, Americans may be caught up in surveillance when they communicate with foreigners.

Section 702 critics say that the tool is a constitutional violation when FBI officials or U.S. Intelligence officials search through data without a court warrant to find dirt on Americans.

National security advocates insist on its importance to counter potential terrorist threats around the world.