The Senate on Thursday passed legislation reauthorizing three intelligence programs that lapsed earlier this year amid a GOP stalemate.
Senators voted 80-16on the bill, which pairs the reauthorization of the USA Freedom Act provisions with some changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, also known as the FISA court.
The Senate changed the bill, which originally passed the House in March,as part of a two-day floor debate. Senators addedmore legal protections for some individuals targeted by the court.
The proposal, which was spearheaded by Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeIn win for privacy hawks, Senate adds more legal protections to FISA bill Trump looms as wild card in Senate surveillance fight This week: Senate juggles coronavirus with surveillance fight MORE (R-Utah) and Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyIn win for privacy hawks, Senate adds more legal protections to FISA bill Lawmakers look for ways to add to annual spending bills Trump looms as wild card in Senate surveillance fight MORE (D-Vt.), would increase the role of outside legal experts in FISA court hearings, including allowing them to weigh in on some FBI surveillance requests.
Because the Senate changed the bill, it will now have to be sent back to the House, which is expected to return on Friday. House Democratic leadership has not said if or when they will take up the amended bill.
It also remains unclear if President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Judiciary chairman hints at subpoenaing Barr Florida election supervisors urge DeSantis to 'act immediately' to make voting safe amid pandemic Paul claims Biden 'caught red-handed' eavesdropping on Flynn MOREwould sign the bill should it reach his desk. The president has railed about his campaign being spied upon and has sent mixed signals to lawmakers about if he supports the legislation.
Some supporters of the original House bill warned that letting the Senate make changes could open up the door to progressives and libertarian-minded Republicans in the House trying to reopen negotiations on the bill once it returns to the lower chamber.
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate GOP to press for Biden, other ex-Obama officials to testify on Flynn Buttigieg PAC rolls out slate of endorsements The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The American Investment Council - Pelosi touts T bill as Fauci stresses go-slow openings MORE (R-S.C.) said that while Lee had some good ideas, sending the bill back to the House could shut things down on reauthorizing the intelligence programs.
I want to promise Sen. Lee and everybody else, this will not be the last word on FISA reform, he said.
Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneIn win for privacy hawks, Senate adds more legal protections to FISA bill Trump looms as wild card in Senate surveillance fight Senate GOP crafting wishlist for next coronavirus package MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, added that it was the preference of leadership to pass the House bill without changes.
"I think the leader's position is that it's much simpler to pick up the House passedbill, pass it, send it to the president," Thune said.
The House bill would reauthorize two expired programs: One dealing with lone wolf suspects who are not tied to any known terrorist organization and another on roving wiretaps that allow the federal government to track a suspect across multiple devices.
The House bill also reauthorizes Section 215, which allows the government to request tangible things such as documents relevant to a national security investigation, but makes changes, including ending a controversial phone surveillance program.
And it also makes some changes to the FISA process, including requiring the attorney general to sign off on applications tied to an elected official.
While senators agreed to add the Lee-Leahy bill, they also rejected two other amendments: one from Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPaul claims Biden 'caught red-handed' eavesdropping on Flynn Overnight Health Care: Ousted Trump official will warn of 'unprecedented illness and fatalities' | Experts tell coronavirus panel that more testing needed to reopen US | Pelosi pushes to unite party on coronavirus bill despite grumbling from left In win for privacy hawks, Senate adds more legal protections to FISA bill MORE (R-Ky.) preventing FISA warrants from being used against Americans and one from Sens.Steve Daines(R-Mont.) andRon Wyden(D-Ore.) preventing law enforcement from obtaining internet browsing and search history without a warrant.
The Senates vote comes amid growing concerns about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) after Inspector General Michael Horowitzfound 17 inaccuracies and omissions in the warrant applications related to Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
An interim report on a broader FISA review that looked at 29 applications found issues with each of them.
The House has to pull its initial bill from a scheduled vote in the Judiciary Committee over pushback from progressives and libertarian-minded GOP lawmakers that it did not go far enough to address privacy concerns or legal protections for those targeted by the court.
Fourteen Democrats voted against the bill:Sens. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinPoll: Biden leads Trump by 3 points in Wisconsin Senate Democrat presses meat processors on worker protections Five factors to watch in the meat supply chain crisis MORE (Wis.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOn The Money: Unemployment rate spikes to 14.7 percent as 20.5 million lose jobs | Trump, White House pumps brakes on next relief bill | Senate GOP resistant to new round of stimulus checks An evidence-based response to rising child poverty reform and expand the Child Tax Credit Hillicon Valley: Uber to lay off thousands of employees | Facebook content moderation board announces members | Lawmakers introduce bill to cut down online child exploitation MORE (Ohio), Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellWe can't afford to let local news die Key Republican senators to introduce coronavirus-related data privacy legislation GOP, Democratic senators call for more assistance to local media in coronavirus stimulus MORE (Wash.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinObama criticism gets under GOP's skin Senate Judiciary Committee calls for national safety guidelines amid liability hearing Bipartisan senators seek funding for pork producers forced to euthanize livestock MORE (Ill.), Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichBottom line GOP sounds alarm bell over coronavirus-fueled debt Free-flowing rivers help ecosystems, wildlife, people and the economy MORE (N.M.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoHillicon Valley: Experts raise security concerns about online voting | Musk finds supporter in Trump | Officials warn that Chinese hackers targeting COVID-19 research groups Democrats introduce legislation to ensure internet access for college students Esper escalates war of words with Warren, Democratic senators MORE (Hawaii), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyOvernight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil Trump administration to buy 1 million barrels of oil for national stockpile Democratic bill would require cash refunds for all canceled airline tickets during pandemic MORE (Mass.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOvernight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil Trump administration to buy 1 million barrels of oil for national stockpile Hillicon Valley: Uber to lay off thousands of employees | Facebook content moderation board announces members | Lawmakers introduce bill to cut down online child exploitation MORE (Ore.), Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Zeldin says Congress must help states; Fauci's warning; Dems unveil T bill The Hill's 12:30 Report: Fauci testifies, discusses students returning in August GOP senator: US 'not as prepared as we should have been' on coronavirus MORE (Wash.), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzCoronavirus drives record number of complaints to consumer bureau More than 70 lawmakers join suit challenging Trump power plant rollbacks Trump says he will sign executive order temporarily suspending immigration into US MORE (Hawaii), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSenators request emergency funding for postal service in next coronavirus bill On The Money: Black workers may face disproportionate COVID-19 risk | Trump pick for pandemic response watchdog vows independence | Stocks inch higher as oil prices rise Trump pick for pandemic response watchdog pledges independence amid Democratic skepticism MORE (Mont), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior sued over temporary appointments of top officials | Watchdog to probe why tribal stimulus was steered to corporations | EPA's independent science board, critics push for stronger lead rule Interior watchdog to probe why tribal stimulus was steered to corporations Democratic senators demand answers on US involvement in foiled Venezuela plot MORE (N.M.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenIt's time to invest in America's future Democratic bill would require cash refunds for all canceled airline tickets during pandemic The Memo: Fauci at odds with Trump on virus MORE (Mass.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenIn win for privacy hawks, Senate adds more legal protections to FISA bill Trump looms as wild card in Senate surveillance fight Experts sound alarms about security as states eye online voting MORE (Ore.). On the GOP side, Paul and Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrFBI serves search warrant on Sen. Richard Burr amid stock trading controversy: report Our privacy is on the clock Burr's brother-in-law sold stock on same day as senator in lead-up to crisis MORE (R-N.C.), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, voted against the bill.
Paul railed against the bill from theSenatefloor ahead of Thursdays vote.
The Patriot Act, in the end, is not patriotic. The Patriot Act makes an unholy and unconstitutional exchange of liberty for a false sense of security. And I, for one, will oppose its reauthorization, he said, referring to the post-9/11 bill that predated the USA Freedom Act.
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