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House Conservatives Revolt Against GOP Leadership, Defeat Key Vote on Controversial Surveillance Bill



House conservatives staged a significant revolt against GOP leadership on Wednesday, dealing a major blow to House Speaker Mike Johnson by defeating a crucial vote on a contentious surveillance bill. The opposition came after former President Donald Trump urged Republicans to reject the reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), amplifying the challenges faced by GOP leaders.

Trump’s call to ‘KILL FISA’ on his social media platform Truth Social further fueled the dissent within the House Republican ranks, leading to a dramatic turn of events on the House floor. This defeat on the procedural vote marked the fourth time under Johnson’s leadership that such a setback has occurred, highlighting the deep internal divisions within the party.

The final vote count stood at 193 to 228, with 19 Republicans joining forces with Democrats to block the procedural vote, thereby derailing the rule governing the debate on the FISA reauthorization bill among others. The House Republicans’ sharp divergence on the FISA reauthorization issue intensified the pressure on Speaker Johnson, whose leadership now faces a critical test.

The struggles over the FISA reauthorization bill have laid bare the intense fissures within the GOP, pitting different factions against each other and complicating the path forward for Johnson. As speculation looms about a potential leadership challenge, Johnson finds himself embroiled in a daunting stance against the right flank of his party over the controversial surveillance legislation.

Despite the setback, Johnson expressed optimism about finding a resolution on FISA this week, emphasizing the ongoing efforts to navigate through the deep-seated disagreements within the party. He reassured reporters that discussions with members would continue to seek a breakthrough, underscoring the speaker’s determination to salvage the legislation.

Earlier in the day, several prominent conservatives had already signaled their intent to thwart the procedural vote. Notable figures like Rep. Matt Gaetz and Rep. Anna Paulina Luna publicly declared their opposition, with Luna affirming on social media that they were ‘killing FISA.’ Rep. Tim Burchett also joined the dissent, affirming his vote against the rule and echoing the sentiment that defeating it was a favorable outcome.

The proposed bill, named the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act, aimed to reauthorize Section 702 of FISA for a five-year term while incorporating various reforms. However, the fate of this legislative effort now hangs in the balance following the failure of the key vote, stirring uncertainty and further complicating the already tumultuous political landscape.

Rachel Adams

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