Johnson, 86 Republicans Join Democrats In Tanking FISA Amendment

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), alongside his fellow Republicans, recently joined Democrats in tanking a bill amendment that would require the federal government to obtain a warrant before spying on Americans before they are accused of a crime.

The divided House, controlled by the GOP, failed to add an amendment introduced by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) that would have modified Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requiring the federal government to obtain a warrant before surveilling Americans.

Despite such a common-sense proposal, Johnson and 86 Republicans joined Democrats in striking it down. Johnson cast the deciding vote, given that there was a tie.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, Rep. Tomas Massie (R-KY), said the vote signaled “a sad day for America.”

“This is how the Constitution dies,” Massie wrote. “By a tie vote, the amendment to require a warrant to spy on Americans goes down in flames. This is a sad day for America. The Speaker doesn’t always vote in the House, but he was the tie breaker today. He voted against warrants.”

The Federalist noted that the bill to reauthorize the use of FISA for the forthcoming two years passed the House by a vote of 273-147, with 126 Republicans and 147 Democrats supporting it. The legislation must now pass the Senate before heading to President Joe Biden’s desk for signature.

The Federalist’s Brianna Lyman previously pointed out, “Section 702 has allowed the government to carry out warrantless surveillance of American citizens in violation of the Fourth Amendment and will expire on April 19 without further action from Congress.”

Before the vote was conducted, Biggs spoke on the House floor in support of his measure, slamming the Biden administration’s unlawful desire to continue surveilling Americans without a warrant.

“The administration cites multiple examples where using Section 702 [has been used] to monitor foreign targets and provide critical intelligence,” the Arizona congressman said.

“But when it comes to warrantless searches for Americans, they can’t provide any examples of where … that’s provided any useful information, and yet they want to continue to look at U.S. persons’ information without a warrant,” he added.