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Progressives and conservatives unite to prod Johnson on warrantless surveillance

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A rare alliance of progressive and conservative House lawmakers is trying to raise pressure on Speaker Mike Johnson to hold a vote on reauthorizing a controversial surveillance authority after he delayed it again this week.

Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, is joining Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Ben Cline (R-Va.) on a joint statement, obtained first by POLITICO, that warns “repeatedly punting legislation … is unproductive.”

“We have demonstrated a willingness to consider other legislation to reauthorize Section 702, provided that Members have an opportunity to vote on whether the government should end warrantless surveillance on Americans and stop circumventing the Fourth Amendment by purchasing sensitive information on Americans from third parties,” they added.

The group underscores in its statement that its only request is for a vote on those two policy changes as part of the debate over Section 702, a warrantless power that is meant to target foreigners abroad but has come under fire because of its ability to sweep in Americans’ information.

Its statement comes after Johnson on Wednesday abruptly abandoned his second attempt to bring legislation to the floor to reauthorize Section 702, after Intelligence Committee members threatened to defeat a rule to tee up floor debate with a simple majority required for passage.