Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments

The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday canceled a planned vote to reauthorize a set of controversial government surveillance programs over concerns that a slew of privacy-focused amendments from Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) would tank the bill in the House, sources confirmed to The Hill.

The eleventh-hour switch up comes after staff with the Judiciary Committee negotiated with the House Intelligence Committee for months to produce a bill that reformed several expiring surveillance provisions originally spelled out in the Patriot Act. The provisions are set to sunset on March 15.

Ultimately, the reforms in the reauthorization bill offered by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) did not go far enough to satisfy key civil liberties advocates and privacy hawks in Congress, who were hoping for more sweeping changes to the government’s spying authorities.

Lofgren, a longtime proponent of overhauling the country’s intelligence-gathering efforts to better protect privacy, told the Judiciary Committee staff on Tuesday that she would offer amendments to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, or FISA, court, which has come under bipartisan scrutiny over its role in the FBI’s surveillance of a Trump campaign associate.