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House votes to extend National Security Agency's sweeping spying laws another 6 years in victory for Trump, Ryan
The House rejected a bipartisan effort to limit the National Security Agency's surveillance program in a 233-183 vote Thursday, marking a victory for President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The proposal would have required officials to get warrants in most situations before reading any American citizens' electronic messages that are incidentally picked up when spying on the communications of foreigners abroad.
In a second subsequent vote, the House approved 256-164 to extend Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act by six years. The section allows the government to continue warrantless collection of foreign communications from American firms like Google and AT&T, regardless of if the emails, text messages, or photos are exchanged with American citizens, The New York Times reports. "Section 702 was written to go after terrorists, but it is being used to go after Americans," argued Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) on the floor Thursday, USA Today reports.
While the legislation still requires Senate approval, the House was the likelier forum for limits to be imposed on the surveillance program because fewer lawmakers in the Senate approve of changes to the spying laws. Earlier Thursday, Trump contradicted the White House's official stance in favor of the surveillance law, although he publicly amended his opinion after a phone call from Ryan, the Times reports.