WASHINGTON — Following a survey of its members, the Congressional Progressive Caucus announced the CPC’s support of the bipartisan amendment to ban warrantless surveillance of Americans’ communications in legislation reauthorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) as its formal position.

In accordance with Caucus bylaws, this was adopted after a vote of the membership, with more than two-thirds voting in favor of taking a formal position to support the warrant amendment.

Although FISA is intended to authorize federal agencies to gather information from foreigners’ communications, the government admits it is using the law to search Americans' private communications — including internet activity, phone records, and texts — without a warrant. The bipartisan amendment, introduced by Reps. Biggs (R-AZ), Jayapal (D-WA), Nadler (D-NY), Davidson (R-OH), Lofgren (D-CA), and Jordan (R-OH), would target this abuse and require federal agencies to obtain a warrant before searching U.S. persons’ communications in the Section 702 database. With exceptions for the most pressing cases, this amendment would codify essential protections for Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights. 

In 2022 alone, the FBI exploited Section 702 more than 200,000 times to search for Americans' data, circumventing the Fourth Amendment and betraying public trust. These searches unjustly targeted individuals, including Members of Congress, 141 Black Lives Matter protesters, 19,000 donors to a congressional campaign, a local political party, tens of thousands of people involved in “civil unrest,” visitors to FBI offices, and individuals based solely on their race. The House has voted multiple times to end this practice of performing backdoor searches on Americans with strong bipartisan support. Requiring the government to obtain a warrant before searching Section 702 data for Americans’ communications is supported by 76 percent of Americans.

Last year, the CPC endorsed Rep. Lofgren’s Government Reform and Surveillance Act (H.R. 6262), which would dramatically curb abuse and protect Americans’ civil liberties.