The U.S. Congress has delayed a vote to reauthorize the controversial surveillance program,media reported. The House Judiciary Committee intends to update parts of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) before it expires on March 15, Politico reported. But after learning that Rep. Zoe Lofgren would propose new amendments, the committee canceled a vote scheduled for today (February 27 local time) — which Democrats fear could hurt the bill’s chances of voting in the House.
It is understood that the proposed law would extend some domestic surveillance provisions, particularly Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The bill allows government agencies to require access to sensitive business records with the approval of secret courts. Section 215 was due to expire at the end of 2019, but Congress extended it for three months in an appropriations bill, delaying the debate until this year.
Politico and other media have reported on a sensitive negotiating process and political tensions about the reauthorization that could complicate the negotiations. The resulting legal proposal would adjust the content of the project to increase accountability and limit oversight authority. In addition, it would expand the powers of “amicuscursions”, which can challenge the government’s arguments in fiSA courts. It will also explicitly terminate a program that allows the NSA to require phone companies to provide call logs — even though the agency has previously said it has abandoned the practice.
But Lofgren said the bill was a trivial reform for politicians, “and I don’t think the bill that the committee is proposing is worthy of support.” “
Lofgren’s proposed amendment is expected to further limit the government’s data collection practices and conduct more reviews of FISA court approvals. The changes are likely to please civil liberties advocates and gain the support of some Republicans. However, a Democratic aide, who did not want to be named, called the amendments “poison pills” that would derail the legal proposal.
The future of the legal proposal is now uncertain. The committee could reschedule the vote and complete it by the March 15 deadline — either by passing the bill or by reauthorizing the old rules directly. Meanwhile, Lofgren says she will soon come up with her own alternative. “We have a chance to reform the system,” she told the New York Times. We should seize the opportunity. “