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International Business Times
International Business Times
Kiran Tom Sajan

Rand Paul Criticizes Johnson's Vote on FISA Amendment, Alleges Departure From Conservative Values

House Speaker Mike Johnson (Credit: AFP)

Senator Rand Paul criticized Speaker Mike Johnson on Sunday for his role in creating a tie vote on an amendment to a contentious surveillance bill, stirring discontent among some of the staunchest conservative Republicans.

The Republican from Kentucky also alleged that Johnson had strayed from conservative principles on the national debt and government surveillance.

Last week, conservatives and progressives joined forces to advocate for an amendment to the reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), aimed to mandate a warrant for government surveillance on Americans.

However, following Johnson's opposing vote, the amendment failed to pass, resulting in a tie vote and ultimately thwarting the proposed change.

Even with a recent endorsement from former President Trump, the vote incensed the most conservative members of Congress and contributed to growing discontentment with Johnson.

Appearing on Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo," Paul said he did not see a difference between Johnson being in charge and the Democrats being in charge.

"People have to be strong in their convictions. He was seen as a conservative before he came to the speakership," Paul said.

He also said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday" that Speaker Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, was "incredibly wrong".

"He broke the tie. He voted with the Democrats," Paul said.

"Here we have the leader of the Republicans in the House votes with the Democrats against a warrant requirement."

However, during a separate interview on the same program, Johnson said that his stances align closely with those of former President Donald Trump.

He defended his decision to pass a bill for government funding to prevent a shutdown and to extend the FISA.

Johnson said: "Keep and grow the House majority, win back the Senate and win back the White House for President Trump so we can save this country — that's what's at stake right now. The party is 100% united on that agenda."

The vote on the FISA amendment saw bipartisan opposition, with 86 Republicans, including Johnson, and 126 Democrats voting against it. Senator Paul, known for his libertarian views, played a significant role in advocating for the FISA amendment in the Senate.

Following the amendment's defeat, an updated version of the bill, featuring a two-year reauthorization instead of the initially proposed five years, sailed through the House easily.

Johnson, who was previously critical of the FISA Section 702 surveillance powers, has shifted his stance since assuming the Speakership.

The provision permits U.S. intelligence agencies to gather communications from foreign nationals under investigation, which may include interactions with Americans.

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