The House of Representatives on Thursday passed the $886 billion National Defense Authorization Act, which now heads to Joe Biden’s desk.
The defense policy bill, which passed in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, includes an amendment to extend Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
Section 702 gives the federal government the power to conduct warrantless spying on foreigners abroad and Americans they interact with.
It was set to expire at the end of the year, but the extension pushes the expiration date back to April 19th.
“Here are the 118 Representatives who voted to protect your right to privacy. (Nay to FISA warrantless surveillance as part of NDAA). We lost but it was close. We needed 143 votes (1/3) to stop FISA since they suspended the rules to bring it to the floor,” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) commented.
Here are the 118 Representatives who voted to protect your right to privacy. (Nay to FISA warrantless surveillance as part of NDAA)
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) December 14, 2023
In total, 147 Republicans and 163 Democrats approved the massive bill to fund the Pentagon and other military expenditures.
Here are the public servants who voted to protect Americans’ privacy:
Investigative journalist Laura Loomer listed the 147 House Republicans who voted yes on the NDAA without removing funding for the FISA courts.
Here is a list of 147 @HouseGOP members who just voted YES on the NDAA without removing funding for the unconstitutional FISA courts.
Notice @SpeakerMcCarthy is one of them.
Son of a bitch is trying to let Democrats take back control of the House and have a fully funded FISA… pic.twitter.com/TCGOEhfs9P
— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) December 14, 2023
The 310-118 vote on the annual policy bill succeeded despite conservative opposition to a short-term extension of federal surveillance powers and the lack of hardline provisions on abortion, transgender troops and diversity in the ranks.
Speaker Mike Johnson brought the bill up for a vote under an expedited process that bypasses procedural votes that have sunk other bills in Republicans’ razor-thin majority. But the tactic required a two-thirds vote, meaning substantial opposition could have tanked the defense bill.
Ultimately, 73 Republicans and 45 Democrats opposed the final defense bill. Despite being in the minority, Democrats supplied more votes to pass the bill than Republicans.
While the compromise cleared with bipartisan support, it could still create another headache for Johnson, who is already taking heat from the GOP’s right flank over other issues.
Hardliners, led by the conservative House Freedom Caucus, opposed the bill after congressional leaders attached a four-month renewal of spy powers that target foreigners’ communications. The authority, known as Section 702, is set to expire at the end of the year. Johnson has defended the move as necessary to buy time for lawmakers to agree to an overhaul of the program.
Many hard-right members were also angered by what they contend is a lack of GOP wins in the final deal after House Republicans passed their own version of the bill replete with conservative policies in July. They’ve criticized negotiators for dropping House-approved measures to block the Pentagon’s abortion travel policy, bar coverage of gender-affirming medical care for transgender troops and prohibit drag shows on military bases.
“The measure authorizes $300 million for the Pentagon to arm Ukraine. Another $14.7 billion was included for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative to boost U.S. military presence in the region to guard against China,” the outlet added.