House Tables FISA Bill After Tough Hearing

House Speaker Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) announced on Wednesday that the House is tabling a government surveillance bill after two delegates who oppose it “smoked” the House Intelligence Committee in a hearing over the bill.

“In order to allow Congress more time to reach consensus on how best to reform FISA and Section 702 while maintaining the integrity of our critical national security programs, the House will consider the reform and reauthorization bill at a later date,” said Raj Shah, the deputy communications chief for Johnson.

The House Rules Committee recently held a hearing on the bill to reform Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which sunsets on Apr. 19.

Citing a staffer close to the FISA negotiations, a Washington reporter for the Daily Beast reported that Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY) “presented at the Rules Committee. The Intel Committee didn’t even show up. Then, wouldn’t you know it, the Speaker pulled FISA. Talk about taking your ball and going home. Intel was smoked and they know it.”

The tough hearing for the bill with the pro-intelligence reform delegates has left the proposal on the back burner for House leadership. House Majority Whip Tom Emmer’s (R-MN) office said in a press release this week that lawmakers on Capitol Hill will no longer vote on H.R. 7320, the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act.

Section 702 is a federal statute that allows U.S. intelligence agents to collect communications of targeted foreigners within the United States, but it permits unintentional collection of Americans’ private telecommunications data. Privacy advocates and civil libertarians say the law runs afoul of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment requirement of a warrant to search Americans.

Some on Capitol Hill think the Intel Committee got the FISA compromise canceled over sour grapes.

“It’s absolutely wild that the Intel Committee skipped the Rules Committee, realized they’d lost the debate, and then pouted in a manner that made the Speaker pull any potential FISA compromise. Never seen anything like it,” one GOP aide told Breitbart News.