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House To Revisit FISA Next Week

Democratic leaders in the House promised to bring a bill back to the floor next week to update warrantless wiretapping laws after they were forced to pull it on Wednesday.

“We do have the votes for FISA,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Md.) said Thursday about legislation updating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. “We will be taking that up next week.”

Democrats were forced to remove the legislation from the floor schedule Wednesday after Republicans threatened to introduce a procedural blockade that would redirect the bill back to committee, essentially killing it.

In the meantime, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee agreed to a deal with the White House on the substance of that update – which would revise a stopgap measure that was approved hastily over the summer – according to the Washington Post.

That agreement would effectively cut House Democrats out of the negotiations for the second time this year as Pelosi pushes an update with enhanced protections for the civil liberties of American citizens.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) downplayed the verity and political implications of that deal, saying Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) assured him earlier in the day that he had not signed off on it.

Hoyer also acknowledged the Republican stalling technique Wednesday was “a brilliant strategy to undermine” the legislation, but dismissed speculation that the majority did not have the votes to approve the substantive bill. “We had the votes,” he said.