Debate of Warrantless Surveillance Program
The Senate voted to start legislative action on a House-passed measure (S 139, above) that would extend Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) through 2023, with debate and a final vote on the bill expected within days.
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A yes vote was to advance the bill.
Yes: Cornyn, Cruz
Extension of Warrantless Surveillance Program
The House voted on a six-year extension (S 139) of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The post 9/11 law is a key government tool for detecting and preventing foreign-based terrorist activity, but also a target of criticism that it imperils the privacy rights of innocent Americans.
The law gives agencies including the National Security Agency (NSA) and FBI warrantless access to commercial databases of foreigners' voice and digital communications – phone calls, emails, online chats, text messaging and social-media postings -- that pass through wireless and landline facilities in the United States. If agencies use the databases to target Americans suspected of terrorist connections, they must obtain FISA-court warrants based on probable cause. When the government inadvertently sweeps up innocent Americans’ communications, the information must be expunged or disregarded, although the law lacks a means for outsiders to see if that has occurred.
FISA was enacted in 1978 to govern domestic collection of foreign intelligence while protecting Americans' civil liberties, and it has been amended several times to address post-9/11 terrorism threats. The law’s secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which issues blanket and specific warrants and monitors government compliance with the law, is comprised of sitting federal judges who serve on a rotating basis.
A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.
Yes: Barton, Granger, Marchant, Veasey
No: Williams, Burgess
Privacy Rights in Surveillance Law
The House voted on a measure aimed at safeguarding Fourth Amendment privacy rights under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The amendment to S 139 (above) sought to protect innocent Americans whose voice and digital communications with foreigners are swept up in government collections of information on foreigners suspected of terrorist activity.
The amendment would have prohibited “backdoor searches” for information on Americans in commercial telecom databases without a specific FISA-court warrant based on probable cause. It also would prohibit “reverse targeting,” warrantless database searches aimed at foreign subjects that end up targeting Americans as well. In addition, the amendment would allow the FISA law’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to review all government foreign-intelligence surveillance programs, not just ones related to terrorism.
A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.
Yes: Barton, Burgess, Veasey
No: Granger, Marchant, Williams
Further Limits on FBI Searches
The House voted a motion that sought to expand the types of FBI searches of commercial telecom databases that require specific search warrants under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The underlying bill (S 139, above) requires the FBI to obtain FISA-court warrants based on probable cause for searches targeting Americans in investigations specifically linked to national security and foreign intelligence. This measure sought to require FISA-court warrants for all FBI searches of databases to which the government has access under Section 702 of the FISA law.
A yes vote was to further limit FBI powers under the FISA law to target Americans in probes unrelated to terrorist activity.
Yes: Barton, Veasey
No: Granger, Marchant, Williams, Burgess
Labor Rights on Tribal Lands
The House voted on a bill (S 140) that would remove Indian reservations from the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) on grounds they are sovereign nations and therefore exempt from that New Deal-era workplace law. This would take away collective-bargaining rights and other federally guaranteed employment rights now available to 600,000 or more workers at casinos on reservations, at least three-fourths of whom are not tribal members. The National Labor Relations Board has applied the NLRA to commercial enterprises on Indian reservations since 2004.
A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.
Yes: Barton, Granger, Marchant, Williams, Burgess
Your U.S. lawmakers
John Cornyn, R
517 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510
5001 Spring Valley Road, Suite 1125E, Dallas, TX 75244
Ted Cruz, R
Russell Senate Office Building, Suite 404, Washington, D.C. 20510
3626 N. Hall St., Suite 410, Dallas, TX 75219
Joe Barton, R-Ennis
2107 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515
6001 W. Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway, Suite 200, Arlington, TX 76017
Michael Burgess, R-Pilot Point
2336 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515
2000 S. Stemmons Fwy., Suite 200, Lake Dallas, TX 75065
202-225-7772; 940- 497-5031
Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth
1026 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515
1701 River Run Road, Suite 407, Fort Worth, TX 76107
Kenny Marchant, R-Coppell
1110 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515
9901 E. Valley Ranch Parkway, Suite 3035, Irving, TX 75063
Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth
1519 Longworth House Office Building,Washington, DC 20515
6707 Brentwood Stair Road, Suite 200, Fort Worth, TX 76112
Roger Williams, R-Austin
1323 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515;
1005 Congress Ave., Suite 925, Austin, TX 78701
COURTESY OF VOTERAMA IN CONGRESS