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House GOP leaders press for way forward on controversial government surveillance program

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Speaker Mike Johnson and GOP Whip Tom Emmer tried to meet into the night with many of the 19 Republicans who tanked a key procedural vote on the reauthorization of a controversial surveillance program.

The defeat on the floor Wednesday was the fourth failed procedural vote in the last six months since Johnson took the speakership.

The issue at hand: A measure to reauthorize and change Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, allowing the intelligence community to gather and sort the communications of foreign targets without a warrant.

Johnson could bring the surveillance bill’s rule back up for a vote Thursday, but the outcome of those evening meetings with FISA critics are not yet clear.

The collapse of the FISA measure followed former President Donald Trump’s social media push for lawmakers to kill the bill. That adds to the growing list of congressional priorities that Trump has scuttled in recent months, from the bipartisan border agreement in the Senate to Ukraine aid and now FISA. Johnson’s trip to Mar-a-Lago on Friday will follow a bruising week in the House.

Key schedule squeeze to look out for: The joint meeting and speech from Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Members have to be in their seats in the House chamber before 10:30 on Thursday morning.