New legislation to reform government spying programs and reauthorize expiring portions of the Patriot Act appears to have found the House’s fast lane.
Lawmakers in the lower chamber are planning to introduce their new version of the USA Freedom Act early this week — possibly Tuesday, sources told The Hill — and then mark it up in the Judiciary Committee later in the week.
The quick action could be a sign of the new bipartisan bill’s support and evidence lawmakers feel confident their deal can attract the necessary support. The new effort is being led by the two leaders of the Judiciary Committee, Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and ranking member John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), as well as veteran members including Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.).House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has previously said the full chamber “may consider” a bill as early as this month. The committee schedule would appear to make that possible.
A bigger challenge might be the Senate, where competing voices on all sides of the issue could threaten to derail the negotiations.
When a similar effort came up in the Senate last year, Republican leaders were actively urging members to oppose it. In the end, it failed to overcome a procedural hurdle by just two votes.
It’s unclear whether Senate GOP leaders will adopt a similar position this time around.