Latest News

Inside the unusual coalition that fell short on Biggs’ warrant amendment to spy power bill

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

An unusual coalition of Democrats and Republicans fell short of their push to add an amendment to a controversial surveillance bill that would require federal officials to get a warrant to see data from U.S. citizens in communication with foreign targets.

In a highly unusual outcome, the amendment from Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) to the reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act tied at 212 — thereby failing. More than 80 Democrats joined with 128 Republicans in backing the measure, while 86 Republicans and 126 Democrats opposed it.

“The intelligence community wants control,” Biggs said on the floor. “They want to continue to have control without any checks.”

Tie votes in the House are exceptionally rare, let alone with such a divided breakdown among the parties.

The White House strongly opposed the amendment in a statement of administration policy on Thursday.

“The amendment would prohibit U.S. officials from reviewing critical information that the Intelligence Community has already lawfully collected, with exceptions that are exceedingly narrow and unworkable in practice,” the Biden White House wrote.