MTG’s Role: Betraying Trust in the FISA Debate

In a pivotal moment that underscored deep divisions within the Republican Party, a group of 19 GOP House members aligned with Democrats to oppose a key procedural step for debating a bill aimed at reauthorizing the nation’s warrantless surveillance capabilities under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). This rare coalition against the bill spotlighted the ongoing controversy over the balance between national security interests and individual privacy rights.

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The procedural vote’s failure, at 193-228, was significantly influenced by former President Donald Trump’s last-minute plea to Republicans to “KILL FISA,” highlighting the internal strife and divergent views on surveillance within the GOP. Trump’s influence remains palpable, demonstrating his enduring impact on Republican policy stances and internal debates.

From left: FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testify on Capitol Hill in February, 2014.(Gary Cameron/Reuters)

The 19 Republicans who opposed the bill were predominantly members of the House Freedom Caucus, a group known for its staunch defense of civil liberties and constitutional rights, especially regarding privacy and government overreach. These members include:

  • Rep. Andy Biggs (Ariz.)
  • Rep. Dan Bishop (N.C.)
  • Rep. Lauren Boebert (Colo.)
  • Rep. Tim Burchett (Tenn.)
  • Rep. Michael Cloud (Texas)
  • Rep. Eli Crane (Ariz.)
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.)
  • Rep. Bob Good (Va.)
  • Rep. Paul Gosar (Ariz.)
  • Rep. Clay Higgins (La.)
  • Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (Fla.)
  • Rep. Nancy Mace (S.C.)
  • Rep. Cory Mills (Fla.)
  • Rep. Ralph Norman (S.C.)
  • Rep. Andy Ogles (Tenn.)
  • Rep. Scott Perry (Pa.)
  • Rep. Matt Rosendale (Mont.)
  • Rep. Chip Roy (Texas)
  • Rep. Greg Steube (Fla.)

Their opposition was rooted in a profound concern over the Fourth Amendment rights violations, arguing that FISA’s warrantless surveillance powers represent an unacceptable intrusion into American citizens’ privacy. The Freedom Caucus had previously advocated for a warrant amendment to the bill in February, underscoring their persistent efforts to reform surveillance laws to safeguard citizens’ rights against unwarranted government spying.

Rep. Bob Good, chair of the Freedom Caucus, encapsulated the sentiment by emphasizing the necessity for the government to obtain warrants before spying on its citizens, condemning the anonymous bureaucrats’ abuse of surveillance tools intended for national security purposes. Similarly, Rep. Matt Gaetz spearheaded the opposition among the most conservative House members, highlighting the misuse of FISA authorities and the lack of significant reforms in the proposed reauthorization to protect Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights.

This bipartisan opposition to FISA reauthorization is a rare convergence of the political spectrum, uniting the farthest left and right wings of the House in a shared concern over privacy rights and government surveillance. This alliance echoes previous standoffs, such as the opposition to Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s Speakership bid, indicating a broader trend of cross-ideological collaboration against perceived governmental overreach.


Among the discourse and dissent, Marjorie Taylor Greene’s role (or the perceived lack thereof) has garnered significant attention. Greene, known for her vociferous defense of civil liberties and privacy rights, notably diverged from her expected course of action. Despite her public opposition to the FISA reauthorization, Greene voted “yes” to advance the bill to the floor, a move that contradicted her stated position and the actions of her peers. This decision has led to criticism and scrutiny, as it appears to align poorly with her professed principles and the expectations of her constituents and allies within the House.

Greene’s vote and subsequent justification—that the motion to advance the bill was a strategy to allow for amendments—have sparked debate about the sincerity and effectiveness of such tactics. Critics argue that allowing the bill to advance, rather than seeking its outright rejection or expiry, undermines the efforts to curtail government surveillance powers and protect privacy rights.

The procedural vote’s outcome and the ensuing fallout underscore the complex and contentious nature of the debate over FISA and government surveillance. It highlights the deep divisions within the Republican Party, the influence of Trump’s endorsement or opposition, and the challenges of navigating legislative strategies to safeguard civil liberties. As the FISA authority’s expiration date approaches, the debate over its reauthorization remains a focal point of broader discussions about privacy, security, and the role of government in the lives of American citizens.

2 thoughts on “MTG’s Role: Betraying Trust in the FISA Debate

  1. I do no accept politicking ploys and excuses anymore.
    Saving FISA from the jaws of expiration is a mark of an enemy of this Nation.

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