WASHINGTON — Following a vote of the 103-member Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), the Caucus endorsed the Government Surveillance Reform Act (GSRA).
The bill, led by CPC member Representative Zoe Lofgren (CA-18), reauthorizes Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) for four years, allowing intelligence agencies to continue to use the authorities granted by that law, but with significant new protections against documented abuses and new accountability measures when abuses occur. Those reforms include: requiring law enforcement to secure a warrant before searching U.S. individuals' data, outlawing law enforcement purchase of U.S. individuals' data from brokers without a warrant, and prohibiting the monitoring of foreign individuals outside the U.S. as a pretext to surveil U.S. persons within the country, known as "reverse targeting.”
“Progressives are proud defenders of civil liberties, and I am proud that the CPC is endorsing the Government Surveillance Reform Act in this key moment in the fight to reform FISA,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the CPC. “As the Intelligence Community continues to conduct backdoor searches and spy on Americans at an alarming scale, we must stand up and defend the privacy of people across the country. This legislation would do just that by overhauling privacy protections. It’s time for every member who claims to care about civil liberties to join Rep. Lofgren’s legislation and defend Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights.”
“It is encouraging and important that the Congressional Progressive Caucus is formally endorsing the most significant legislation to overhaul surveillance laws in nearly half a century – the Government Surveillance Reform Act (GSRA). We can curb surveillance abuses and uphold Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights while being kept safe,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, co-author of the GSRA, a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, and the co-founder and co-chair of the Fourth Amendment Caucus. “Part of being progressive means being supportive or open to legislation that helps our country evolve for the better. It is smart progressive policy to support the GSRA before Congress considers greenlighting another major surveillance reauthorization.”
Many of the GRSA’s key provisions were passed by the House Judiciary Committee as part of the historic bipartisan H.R. 6570, the Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act, under the leadership of CPC members Reps Jayapal, Lofgren, and House Judiciary Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (NY-12).
Other FISA reforms the GSRA would codify include:
- Ending "abouts" collection: The bill terminates the practice of gathering non-U.S. citizens’ communications that merely reference U.S. persons, curbing mass, warrantless surveillance of Americans.
- Enhancing oversight and accountability: The bill stipulates stricter auditing, reporting, and redress processes, promoting responsibility and transparency across intelligence activities.
- Curtailing overreach in Section 702 data use: The bill ensures that data collected under Section 702 is not used in criminal or civil cases unless directly connected to national security threats, thus avoiding its application in unrelated legal contexts.
- Halting warrantless collection of business records: The bill enhances the personal data security of working individuals by disallowing warrantless surveillance of businesses.
- Establishing oversight of the Executive Branch: The bill creates statutory safeguards and prohibits warrantless searches of Americans’ information collected pursuant to Executive Order 12333, to put an end to overly broad surveillance of Americans under Executive Order 12333.