The Senate voted Thursday 65 to 34 to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) — a piece of legislation that was recently set to expire — without significant changes to the government’s surveillance apparatus.
The bill, which passed the House 256-164 last week, extends Section 702 of the FISA program for six years if it is ultimately signed by President Donald Trump.
The specific statute allows federal intelligence agencies to collect data on foreigners suspected of crimes. The broad powers interpreted in the law and the inherent nature of surveillance, however, often cause the electronic communications of law-abiding Americans to be scooped up as well.
The crux of the debate surrounding the legislation was if it needed fundamental reforms in order to safeguard constitutional protections for American citizens, something a bipartisan group of senators have been consistently advocating for.