House Passes Surveillance Bill; Sens. Paul, Lee Oppose Plan

FISA program will expire on Sunday if not extended

In a 278-136 vote, the House on Wednesday passed the USA Freedom Reauthorization Act, extending the government’s FISA surveillance program. The program is scheduled to expire Sunday, unless the Senate also extends it.

The bill has been slow going, with substantial criticism for the government’s abuses of the surveillance program. The vote came after a bipartisan compromise, which many have criticized for not being sufficient.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was very critical of the House compromise, calling it “weak sauce,” and he and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) are leading the opposition in the Senate. In addition, they are urging Trump to veto the House version.

Sen. Lee in particular noted the House reforms would not have prevented the surveillance against President Trump, promising to do everything he can to resist the bill in the Senate, and urging Trump to veto it if it passes through them.

Trump hasn’t commented yet, but the attorney general is backing the compromise and insisting that the FISA needs to be extended, which he probably wouldn’t do publicly if Trump wasn’t going to sign it.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.