Senate passes controversial FISA Title VII reauthorization just after deadline

 April 20, 2024

According to many Republicans and Democrats, the privacy rights of Americans are at much greater risk under a controversial section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Politicians from both sides opposed the reauthorization of Title VII of FISA, but were ultimately overruled after a late-night Senate vote.

According to the New York Post, "In a 60-34 vote, Democrats and Republicans voted to reauthorize Title VII of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) until 2026."

The passed reauthorization of the government's warrantless spying powers will now be sent to President Joe Biden's desk for a signature, which he is expected to sign.

The passing of Title VII sparked massive backlash from several congressmen and senators who stood against the bill.

"The DOJ’s abuses of FISA to spy on American citizens & their communications are unacceptable & contrary to the intent of the protections enshrined in our Fourth Amendment. The prohibition on unreasonable search & seizure can’t be taken for granted," Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) wrote on X. 

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) weighed in on the passage of the reauthorization.

"I voted against this FISA reauthorization bill because it failed to include the most important requirement to protect Americans’ civil rights: that law enforcement get a warrant before targeting a U.S. citizen. Read my full statement here," Cruz wrote on X, pointing to a statement on his website.

The White House expressed its support of the bill after it passed in the lower chamber last week.

The NY Post noted:

The White House issued a statement in strong support of the legislation, called the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act, before it passed the House last week in a 273-147 bipartisan vote.

Senators from both sides of the aisle submitted amendments that would prevent a current loophole in Title VII that allows Americans' private data to be collected in certain investigations, without a warrant, including cell data.

The amendments were shot down, though Intelligence Committee chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) said he would be open to addressing those concerns in future legislation.

Only time will tell just how bad this bill is for American citizens.