WASHINGTON - Today the House of Representatives passed the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017, by a vote of 256 to 167. The bill would reauthorize Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. The House also rejected an amendment offered by Congressman Amash (R-Mich.) -- by a vote of 233 to 183 — which would have provided an overhaul of Section 702 with reforms intended to protect Americans’ privacy rights. Statutory authorization for Section 702 will expire after January 19, 2018. Following is the joint statement today of Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the principal Republican and Democratic authors and sponsors of the USA Liberty Act, which reauthorizes and reforms Section 702:
“Unfortunately, the House bill falls short in providing critical protections for Americans whose communications are routinely swept up by this powerful foreign intelligence tool. In the Senate, our USA Liberty Act (S. 2158) provides a sensible compromise, preserving the government’s ability to use this important national security tool, while also protecting Americans’ fundamental Fourth Amendment privacy rights. Our bill makes clear that Americans need and deserve both security and protection of their privacy.
“Now it is time for Leader McConnell to do what Speaker Ryan did, and allow Senators a chance to vote and offer amendments on the Section 702 reauthorization debate. The American public deserves a full and transparent debate, and members of the Senate deserve to have the same opportunity as did members of the House to discuss and amend legislation reforming this vital surveillance tool.”