House votes to authorize intelligence agencies
The House easily passed legislation on Friday that reauthorizes intelligence agency programs and responds to President Trump sharing classified intelligence with Russian officials.
Democrats, under the direction of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), blocked the bill from passing earlier this week because it was brought to the floor under an expedited process.
That process required a two-thirds majority for passage, prevented amendments and limited debate to 40 minutes. In the end, the House passed the legislation four days later by a 380-35 vote after GOP leaders brought it up under a procedure requiring a simple majority threshold and still didn’t allow amendments.
Pelosi had argued that the legislation merited a “full and open debate on critical intelligence issues at this sensitive time in our nation’s history.”
Lawmakers eager to leave Washington for the monthlong August recess nonetheless only debated the bill for about 30 minutes on Friday.
The legislation authorizes funds for the CIA, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and other intelligence-related programs.
It includes a provision requiring the intelligence community to publish an unclassified report on foreign threats to elections for federal offices and inform Congress of Russian influence campaigns.
Another part of the bill establishes a sense of Congress that agencies should inform the House and Senate Intelligence committees within seven days of becoming aware that an individual in the executive branch has disclosed classified information to a foreign adversary outside the established intelligence channels.
The foreign adversaries would include Russia, North Korea, Iran, China and Cuba.
That provision reflects a bill introduced in May by Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) after Trump shared highly classified information about an Islamic State terror plot during an Oval Office meeting with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador.
The classified information was later reported to be from Israel, which had not authorized the U.S. to share it.
“It is dangerous for any American official to share classified information with an adversary, especially outside of established intelligence channels,” Murphy said in a statement after the intelligence authorization passed on Friday.
The Senate Intelligence Committee advanced its own version of the intelligence authorization on Thursday, which now awaits floor action.
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