86 House Republicans vote against amendment that would require a warrant to spy on Americans

 April 13, 2024

Warrantless searches and surveillance continue to be the law of the land thanks to 86 House Republicans, Breitbart reported. The lawmakers voted against an amendment to the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act (RISAA) bill reauthorizing Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

FISA is supposed to be used only to surveil foreign parties suspected of wrongdoing. However, it has repeatedly been used against American citizens.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) proposed an amendment that would have required a warrant to spy on communications involving Americans. Unfortunately, the final vote was a 212-212 tie, which means a measure is voted down according to the House of Representatives rules.

This is a troubling development heading into an important national election, as most Americans want there to be a requirement to obtain a warrant before spying on citizens. A recent YouGov poll found that 76% of Americans want to require intelligence agencies to obtain a warrant, while only 12% oppose the measure.

Outrage Abounds

Several lawmakers were rightly outraged by the outcome of this vote. Republican Reps. Andrew Clyde of Georgia and Scott Perry (R-PA) both railed against their colleagues who refused to close the loophole in the law.

"This is how the Constitution dies," Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) posted to X, formerly Twitter. "By a tie vote, the amendment to require a warrant to spy on Americans goes down in flames. This is a sad day for America," he added.

"The Speaker doesn’t always vote in the House, but he was the tie breaker today. He voted against warrants," the Kentucky Republican concluded.

Indeed, House Speaker Mike Johnson was among the others in GOP leadership who voted against the measure. Previously, Johnson said he was in favor of the amendment but changed his mind after a closed-door meeting shortly after taking the speakership.

What They Did to Trump

Republicans should be especially vigilant about limiting the power of the government, considering how the surveillance program was used against former President Donald Trump. The FBI would later admit false statements were used to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on Trump's 2016 campaign, the Associated Press reported.

One piece of evidence used to justify the spying was an email that turned out to be doctored by ex-FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith.  It was the excuse for a Democratic administration to use its power to eavesdrop on the candidate for the opposing political party.

There was never strong evidence that Trump colluded with Russia to get elected in 2016. However, the Russiagate probe lasted well into Trump's presidency and was used to discredit him.

This was facilitated using FISA warrants that were issued using faulty evidence. If they can do this to Trump while technically obtaining warrants, what more can they do without any requirement to do so at all?

The intelligence community has too much power and control over the American people. This is not the way things are supposed to be, but Republicans refuse to make it right when they get the chance.

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