Politics

Right flank could pose roadblocks for Johnson on controversial government surveillance power

Speaker Mike Johnson’s third attempt to get a controversial surveillance power through his raucous conference is at risk of derailing once again amid GOP infighting.

The House is set to vote Wednesday to greenlight debate on a bill reauthorizing Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which is meant to target foreigners outside of the United States.

But there are growing signs of trouble for Johnson: His right flank is increasingly angry about his handling of the spy power debate. And former President Donald Trump urged Congress to kill the larger surveillance law.

Johnson told Republicans behind closed doors Wednesday that he had spoken to Trump, but that the two hadn’t talked about FISA. Instead, he warned of a common House conundrum: If they don’t get a bill through this week, they will get jammed by the Senate with a bill they like even less.

“The base bill’s 56 reforms will do more than enough to address the FISA abuses we all know must be stopped,” Johnson said to his members behind closed doors, according to a person in the room.

That sales pitch, however, hasn’t assuaged some of his most vocal critics, who are mulling preventing the surveillance bill from even coming up for debate

So far there are three Republicans expected to vote against bringing the bill to the floor: Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) and Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.). Typically they would be enough to scuttle it, given Johnson’s two-vote margin. But he could have more leeway with some Democrats expected to be absent.

Gaetz vowed on his podcast that he would vote against bringing up the bill because it does not tee up a proposal preventing data brokers from selling consumer information to law enforcement. Leadership has instead indicated it could come up as a separate standalone this week.

“Count on me to vote against proceeding onto that legislation unless we at least have the opportunity to get votes on the things that will fix the problem. If Speaker Johnson is unwilling to fix FISA we are left wondering what he is indeed willing to fix,” Gaetz said.

Nearly a half dozen additional Republicans declined to say Wednesday if they would support proceeding with the legislation.

Reps. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), Bob Good (R-Va.), Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) also declined to say how they would vote and vented frustration at Johnson over his handling of the surveillance debate.

“Of course I’m considering going against it,” Greene told reporters after Wednesday’s conference meeting, predicting that Johnson doesn’t have the votes to ultimately pass the surveillance bill.

Sinking the bill for the third time would be a blow for Johnson and a U-turn from Monday, when several GOP aides involved in the negotiations thought they could at least get a bill to the floor. But anger grew on Johnson’s right flank after his staff indicated he was opposed to requiring a warrant before searching 702-collected foreign data for information related to Americans — a stance first reported by POLITICO.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), a member of the Freedom Caucus, pointed to Johnson’s opposition to the warrant requirement amendment as part of the reason the bill could ultimately be scuttled Wednesday.

“I don’t know if it’ll go to the floor. I suspect it will. We’ll have a debate and I suspect that the rule will fail, but we will see what happens,” Roy said in an interview with Glenn Beck, while blasting Johnson for putting his thumb on the scales of the FISA debate.

Congress has until April 19 to reauthorize the surveillance power. Johnson defended his position on the warrant requirement amendment during Wednesday’s closed-door conference meeting, arguing the amendment was too broad and that not requiring a warrant is backed up by courts.

Republicans also circulated a letter during Wednesday’s conference meeting from families of 9/11 victims urging them to reauthorize Section 702 and warning that failing to do so “would be detrimental to American national security and would put Americans at risk of new terrorist attacks.” The letter and it being shared in conference were first reported by POLITICO.

Democrats, meanwhile, don’t appear keen to help Johnson out of the surveillance dilemma, with members openly saying they will oppose the rule. But absences on their side of the aisle could help Johnson get the bill to the floor absent a larger GOP jailbreak than just the three current “no” votes.

Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) declined to detail where the bill stands and if Republican leadership can get the majority of the majority on it, saying they whipped the bill Tuesday and that the bill will come to the floor Thursday.

But the more complicated vote gauging came as whips tried to determine if members would vote for the underlying bill depending on what happened to the warrant requirement amendment that Johnson opposes, according to two Republicans familiar with those discussions.

“We whip only final passage,” Emmer said Wednesday.

Speaker Mike Johnson’s third attempt to get a controversial surveillance power through his raucous conference is at risk of derailing once again amid GOP infighting.
The House is set to vote Wednesday to greenlight debate on a bill reauthorizing Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which is meant to target foreigners outside of the United States.
But there are growing signs of trouble for Johnson: His right flank is increasingly angry about his handling of the spy power debate. And former President Donald Trump urged Congress to kill the larger surveillance law. Johnson told Republicans behind closed doors Wednesday that he had spoken to Trump, but that the two hadn’t talked about FISA. Instead, he warned of a common House conundrum: If they don’t get a bill through this week, they will get jammed by the Senate with a bill they like even less.
“The base bill’s 56 reforms will do more than enough to address the FISA abuses we all know must be stopped,” Johnson said to his members behind closed doors, according to a person in the room.
That sales pitch, however, hasn’t assuaged some of his most vocal critics, who are mulling preventing the surveillance bill from even coming up for debate
So far there are three Republicans expected to vote against bringing the bill to the floor: Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) and Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.). Typically they would be enough to scuttle it, given Johnson’s two-vote margin. But he could have more leeway with some Democrats expected to be absent.
Gaetz vowed on his podcast that he would vote against bringing up the bill because it does not tee up a proposal preventing data brokers from selling consumer information to law enforcement. Leadership has instead indicated it could come up as a separate standalone this week.
“Count on me to vote against proceeding onto that legislation unless we at least have the opportunity to get votes on the things that will fix the problem. If Speaker Johnson is unwilling to fix FISA we are left wondering what he is indeed willing to fix,” Gaetz said.
Nearly a half dozen additional Republicans declined to say Wednesday if they would support proceeding with the legislation.
Reps. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), Bob Good (R-Va.), Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) also declined to say how they would vote and vented frustration at Johnson over his handling of the surveillance debate.
“Of course I’m considering going against it,” Greene told reporters after Wednesday’s conference meeting, predicting that Johnson doesn’t have the votes to ultimately pass the surveillance bill.
Sinking the bill for the third time would be a blow for Johnson and a U-turn from Monday, when several GOP aides involved in the negotiations thought they could at least get a bill to the floor. But anger grew on Johnson’s right flank after his staff indicated he was opposed to requiring a warrant before searching 702-collected foreign data for information related to Americans — a stance first reported by POLITICO.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), a member of the Freedom Caucus, pointed to Johnson’s opposition to the warrant requirement amendment as part of the reason the bill could ultimately be scuttled Wednesday.
“I don’t know if it’ll go to the floor. I suspect it will. We’ll have a debate and I suspect that the rule will fail, but we will see what happens,” Roy said in an interview with Glenn Beck, while blasting Johnson for putting his thumb on the scales of the FISA debate.
Congress has until April 19 to reauthorize the surveillance power. Johnson defended his position on the warrant requirement amendment during Wednesday’s closed-door conference meeting, arguing the amendment was too broad and that not requiring a warrant is backed up by courts.
Republicans also circulated a letter during Wednesday’s conference meeting from families of 9/11 victims urging them to reauthorize Section 702 and warning that failing to do so “would be detrimental to American national security and would put Americans at risk of new terrorist attacks.” The letter and it being shared in conference were first reported by POLITICO.
Democrats, meanwhile, don’t appear keen to help Johnson out of the surveillance dilemma, with members openly saying they will oppose the rule. But absences on their side of the aisle could help Johnson get the bill to the floor absent a larger GOP jailbreak than just the three current “no” votes.
Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) declined to detail where the bill stands and if Republican leadership can get the majority of the majority on it, saying they whipped the bill Tuesday and that the bill will come to the floor Thursday.
But the more complicated vote gauging came as whips tried to determine if members would vote for the underlying bill depending on what happened to the warrant requirement amendment that Johnson opposes, according to two Republicans familiar with those discussions.
“We whip only final passage,” Emmer said Wednesday.  

Related Posts

1 of 1,736

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *