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Speaker Mike Johnson has postponed a House vote initially set for this week on renewing the nation’s warrantless surveillance program, marking a notable setback amid ongoing disputes between two key committees.

The program in question, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), has stirred contention within the House, specifically between the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, regarding including a warrant requirement for spying on noncitizens abroad. Raj Shah, a spokesperson for Johnson, said, “In order to allow Congress more time to reach consensus on how best to reform FISA and Section 702 while maintaining the integrity of our critical national security programs, the House will consider the reform and reauthorization bill at a later date.”

The debate centers on Section 702’s capability to target foreigners outside the US, inadvertently capturing communications with Americans, leading to concerns over unauthorized searches of US citizens. This issue has deeply divided opinions, with some viewing it as a necessary tool for national security and others as a breach of privacy. Last year, Republicans faced internal disagreements over reconciling different proposals from the Intelligence and Judiciary committees, resulting in a temporary extension of the program to avoid its expiration at the year’s end.

This year’s proposed bill, the result of negotiations between members of both committees, leans more towards the previous Intelligence Committee’s proposal and lacks the Judiciary Committee’s demanded warrant requirement.


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