House Votes to Renew FISA, Bill Moves to Senate

Sens. Rand Paul, Ron Wyden Oppose Extension

After months of talking about various reforms, the House voted Thursday 256-164 to renew Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) with only limited changes, rejecting all serious restrictions on surveillance.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) defended the renewal on the grounds that “we don’t know what the terrorists are up to,” despite the section having been in place for years, allowing the same mass surveillance, and abuse already.

The bill still has to get through the Senate, which may not necessarily be an easy task. Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) both coming out against any long-term extension, and Sen. Paul has said he will filibuster any version of the bill that doesn’t include the major reform of requiring warrants to surveil Americans.

So far there’s no indication that the Senate leadership has any more appetite for serious reform than the House did, but this bipartisan opposition, and threat of a filibuster, may make renewal less certain.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.