Politics & Policy

Trump Considers Vetoing FISA Reauthorization Bill at Behest of Mike Lee, Rand Paul

President Donald Trump greets supporters in Des Moines, Iowa, January 30, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

President Trump suggested Thursday that he could veto a reauthorization of FISA’s expiring surveillance powers, tweeting that “many Republican Senators want me to veto the FISA Bill.”

Trump’s comments come after the House reached a deal on reforms and passed a bill Wednesday with a bipartisan vote of 278-to-136 and the support of attorney general William Barr.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D., N.Y.) and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), who authored the “USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020,” said the law included “significant reforms.”

“Along with the House Leadership, we have engaged in bipartisan negotiations with input from many members to get to a deal on reforming FISA while reauthorizing important national security provisions set to expire this weekend. Through those negotiations, we have been able to incorporate significant reforms to increase civil liberty and privacy protections to the base bill, and additional provisions that should garner bipartisan support,” Nadler and Schiff said in a joint statement.

But the bill has drawn criticism from FISA hawks on both sides of the aisle, with House Republicans who support more stringent reforms telling National Review that their coalition of conservatives and progressives who wanted to substantively change FISA were rebuffed by leadership.

Senators Mike Lee (R., Utah) and Rand Paul (R., Ky.) share critical views of FISA’s civil liberties abuses, and both publicly condemned the House’s bill.

“I’m going to use every option at my disposal to stop the House bill and to offer up amendments,” Lee told Politico. “I have given no one any reason to believe that I would be unwilling to let the clock run out.” He added that he had told Trump “publicly and privately” To veto the bill.

Paul told reporters that the current bill “with no amendments is completely unacceptable and an affront to any of those who were ever concerned about FISA abuse.”

Following Trump’s Thursday tweet, both Lee and Paul expressed their support of the sentiment.

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