Biden Opposes Amendment To Require Warrants For FISA Surveillance

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has once again been making headlines as elected officials debate whether its controversial warrantless surveillance provision should be extended and, if so, with what sort of revisions.

Former President Donald Trump spoke out against FISA this week in a social media post urging lawmakers to “kill” the law and revisiting concerns about how it has reportedly been used to spy on Americans, including himself.

A group of House Republicans managed to derail a reauthorization bill endorsed by House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) earlier this week. The 19 GOP lawmakers were unsatisfied with the scope of its proposed reforms, but President Joe Biden subsequently came out in favor of the Johnson-backed bill.

The president specifically rejected a proposed amendment from U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) that would have required a warrant to spy on the communications of American citizens.

“Our intelligence, defense, and public safety communities are united: the extensive harms of this proposal simply cannot be mitigated,” the White House stated. “Therefore, the Administration strongly opposes the amendment.”

Biggs responded to the Biden administration’s remarks with his own statement via social media.

“Of course Joe doesn’t support a warrant requirement,” the Arizona Republican wrote. “His weaponized federal police apparatus wouldn’t be able to spy on American citizens anymore. GET A WARRANT.”

Ahead of a planned vote on Friday to advance the legislation stalled two days earlier, the conservative House Freedom Caucus asked: “Does the [House Republican Conference] stand with Joe Biden or with Americans and their constitutional rights? We’ll find out tomorrow.”

Another point of intraparty contention among Republicans involves a proposed legislative exception aimed at protecting lawmakers from warrantless surveillance without extending the same protections to their constituents.

The issue led to a dispute between Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) during a Rules Committee hearing on Tuesday.

“I questioned Intel Committee Chairman Turner about special treatment Congressmen get in the proposed FISA bill,” Massie later wrote of the interaction. “Instead of giving a carve out to Congress from unconstitutional spying, just require a warrant for all Americans! Get a warrant!”