Speaker Johnson Celebrates Victory With FISA Reauthorization Act

Embattled House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) disappointed Americans on both sides of the aisle Friday as went against former President Donald Trump and backed President Joe Biden’s HR 7888 to reauthorize authority for federal officials to engage in warrantless domestic spying.

The White House doubled down on its support for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — because Democrats are clearly big fans of warrantless surveillance on American citizens.

The measure would reauthorize Section 702, a law often implemented to conduct surveillance on private communications involving Americans without needing a warrant.

Dissident House Republicans on Wednesday shot down a rule that would have allowed a vote. This followed a strong admonition from former President Donald Trump, whose campaign was targeted by such spying.

But the fourth attempt at reauthorizing FISA was successful as it cleared the House on a 273-147 vote on Friday. It now should move on to the Senate, where it is expected to fly through with bipartisan support.

There were 59 Republicans and 88 Democrats who voted against the measure.

The new FISA reauthorization is a two-year reauthorization instead of the previous five years. This would give Trump another shot at the program if he wins a second term in November.

Johnson had to work at securing this win. He organized a gathering in a classified reading room near the House floor for representatives to view materials related to reauthorization before the vote.

For Johnson, Friday’s success marked an about face from his previous position before he assumed the Speaker’s gavel. He had opposed reauthorizing Section 702 but changed his mind when he received classified briefings.

The Republican said he saw the program misapplied “over and over” by the FBI.

But then he became Speaker and was privy to “the other perspective.” Johnson said earlier this week that he received a confidential briefing and came “to understand the necessity of Section 702 of FISA and how important it is for national security.”

The bill did not pass without a fight, and the Senate must wait until next week to take it up. Just after it passed, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) utilized a procedural measure that created the necessity of another House vote on Monday.