House Judiciary Committee Advances Massive Act to Protect Americans

House Judiciary Committee Advances Massive Act to Protect Americans

( – Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is set to expire at the end of the year. The program is supposed to be used to conduct surveillance on foreign nationals outside of the US, but the government repeatedly abused it. Congress must decide whether to extend the controversial program’s life, and it’s coming down to the wire. The FBI director is imploring lawmakers to keep it in place, while civil rights activists, Republicans, and others want to kill it.

One lawmaker believes he has a solution to the problem that could satisfy both groups and also protect Americans.

Protecting Americans

On December 4, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) introduced the Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act (HR 6570). The legislation would reauthorize the program for three years but overhaul Section 702 and require the government to get a warrant for all searches on people in the United States. It would also close loopholes that allow the feds to purchase Americans’ data from tech companies through data brokers and reform the FISA Court. On December 6, the House Judiciary Committee advanced the legislation by a vote of 35-2.

Rep. Biggs released a statement applauding the committee and explaining the problem with the current version of Section 702. He explained that the program allows the government to intercept the communications of someone located outside of the country. Americans are often swept up in the net and intelligence agencies keep their communications, which they can later access without a warrant.

Support for HR 6570

The legislation is supported by a bipartisan group of lawmakers and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Kia Hamadanchy, the spokesperson for the ACLU’s senior policy counsel, released a statement urging the House to pass the legislation. The spokesperson said that it’s more important now than ever, when Americans spend so much time online, to ensure the government isn’t surveilling citizens.

In a joint statement with the other sponsors, House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) applauded his colleagues for passing the legislation. He said its passage was “a meaningful step in making reforms to FISA that are long overdue.” The legislation does that and would put safeguards in place to protect Americans from abuses.

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said he was “proud to have joined” his Republican colleagues in sponsoring the “important, comprehensive, and necessary legislation.” He urged Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) to bring the legislation to the floor so the full House could vote on it.

Biggs’ legislation will now move to the House floor for consideration.

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