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Where Does the FISA Fight Go From Here?

State of the Union: The House has passed a FISA reauthorization bill, but the legislation isn’t on its way to the Senate just yet.

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The House has passed a FISA reauthorization bill, but the legislation isn’t on its way to the Senate just yet.

On Friday, the House voted 273-147 to reauthorize Section 702 of FISA for two years, with 126 Republicans joining 147 Democrats to pass the bill. Fifty nine Democrats and 88 Republicans opposed the bill. 


The most dramatic vote in the House chamber on Friday, however, was the vote on an amendment to FISA reauthorization that would have added warrant requirements when U.S. persons are in question. The amendment, brought by Rep. Andy Biggs, failed in a 212-212 tie. Conservatives in Congress are blaming House Speaker Mike Johnson, claiming he was the tie breaking vote. In total, 86 Republicans voted against the warrant requirement. Once the vote was taken, the chair quickly gaveled the amendment dead, ensuring no vote flips or latecomers that could have changed the outcome. 

“To me that was the whole ball of wax...that warrant requirement,” Rep. Jim Jordan said after the FISA reauthorization vote.

Johnson was able to secure a majority of the GOP’s support on the final legislation, but it’s hard to consider that a win when Democrats signed off in higher numbers. Furthermore, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna has filed a motion to reconsider the legislation, which will delay moving the bill to the Senate until early next week. If the House wants to avoid reconsideration of the bill, they’ll have to motion to table Luna’s procedural maneuver. Johnson clearly has the votes to overcome Luna’s challenge, and it’s unlikely conservatives will score any wins.

Unless former President Donald Trump has something to say about it. Johnson now heads to Mar-a-Lago for an election integrity event where the pair will have a joint news conference. But it appears that Trump has been appeased by the idea that he could preside over FISA reauthorization come 2026. For now, Mar-a-Lago is backing Johnson, hoping to avoid any further chaos in the House before the election, so it seems FISA reformers will have to wait.