WASHINGTON — Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement after the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act, legislation to reauthorize Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), passed the House of Representatives.

“Today is a sad day, where the Congress failed to prioritize Americans’ right to privacy and stop warrantless surveillance from intelligence agencies. The Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act that GOP leadership put on the floor today does not meaningfully protect our constituents’ constitutional rights.  

“The CPC has had a longstanding position that we must reform Section 702 in order to prevent warrantless surveillance of Americans. Along with House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerry Nadler (NY-12) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-18), we worked in a bipartisan way to craft a bill that did exactly this. That bill included critical reforms, including the simple requirement to obtain a warrant to surveil Americans, and passed the Judiciary committee with a 35-2 vote. 

“GOP leadership, along with intelligence community leaders on both sides of the aisle, worked hard to prevent the bill from coming to the floor. Despite that, a bipartisan coalition was able to ensure that we vote on the critical bipartisan amendment I introduced with Reps. Biggs (R-AZ), Nadler (D-NY), Davidson (R-OH), Lofgren (D-CA), and Jordan (R-OH) to require federal agencies to obtain a warrant before searching Americans’ private communications in the Section 702 database. The CPC also took a formal position to endorse the amendment, which requires two-thirds support from the membership. Very unfortunately, that amendment failed by a tie vote of 212-212.

“Since FISA was enacted, government agencies have consistently misused Section 702. In 2022 alone, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) used this authority more than 200,000 times to search Americans’ data without a warrant. Section 702 has been used to warrantlessly search the private communications of racial justice protestors, political activists, a state court judge who reported civil rights violations by a local police chief, immigrants, people of ‘Middle Eastern descent,’ and even sitting members of Congress. These warrantless searches violate Americans’ civil rights, civil liberties, and their Fourth Amendment right to privacy. 

“I am incredibly proud of every member, Democratic and Republican, who stood up to the pressure and misinformation surrounding my bipartisan amendment. This tied vote was the closest we have ever come to ensuring the protection of privacy rights of all Americans — and that fight will continue.”