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House Advances Modified Surveillance Bill For Final Passage

State Rep. Terri Collins speaks on the House floor during debate over SB159 bill (IVF Fertility Bill) in the House Chambers, Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/ Butch Dill)

The House has moved forward with a modified surveillance bill, aiming for final passage by Friday. This decision comes shortly after an earlier version of the bill failed to progress, serving as a public setback for GOP leadership.

On Friday morning, the House voted to approve the rule governing debate on the revised bill related to the reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), marking a crucial step before the bill's final passage. The procedural vote resulted in a 213-208 split along party lines.

This development represents a victory for House Speaker Mike Johnson, following the recent defeat suffered by GOP leadership. The move also coincides with challenges to Johnson's leadership, notably from GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has been pushing for a vote to remove Johnson from the speakership.

The modified FISA bill now proposes a two-year reauthorization instead of the initially proposed five years. This adjustment is seen as a compromise to address concerns raised by conservative House members who had previously opposed the bill, leading to its failure on Wednesday.

Johnson took proactive steps to garner support for the bill, including organizing a classified reading room for members to review sensitive information before the crucial vote on Friday. Additionally, Johnson is set to meet with former President Donald Trump in Florida later in the day.

Reflecting on his evolving stance on FISA reauthorization, Johnson highlighted how classified briefings had influenced his perspective. Initially opposed to section 702 of FISA, Johnson emphasized that confidential briefings shed light on the importance of such measures for national security.

Johnson's journey from skepticism to support underscores the complexities surrounding surveillance legislation and the critical role of informed decision-making in matters of national security.

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