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McCarthy urges Democrats to pull surveillance bill

McCarthy urges Democrats to pull surveillance bill
© Bonnie Cash

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyTrump to attend private RNC donor retreat Former RNC chair to Republicans looking for new Trump party: 'There's the door' Lawmakers propose draft bill to create Capitol riot commission MORE (R-Calif.) on Wednesday asked Democratic leadership to hold off on a vote on the reauthorization of three expired surveillance programs.

"I've asked the Democrats to hold this bill up for two different reasons," the California lawmaker said in an appearance on "Fox & Friends."

McCarthy said that the bill should be held over concerns about proxy voting and allegations that former President Obama used the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to spy on American politicians.

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The push from the Republican leader to hold off on the bill leaves little time for Democratic leadership to make a decision; the surveillance bill is set to be on the House floor later in the day.

The Hill has reached out to spokespeople for Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFive big takeaways on the Capitol security hearings Curator estimates Capitol art damage from mob totals K Democrats want businesses to help get LGBT bill across finish line MORE (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHoyer: House will vote on COVID-19 relief bill Friday On The Money: Biden faces backlash from left on student loans | Where things stand on the COVID-19 relief measure | Retail sales rebound The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden navigates pressures from Dems MORE (D-Md.) for comments on McCarthy's request.

McCarthy's push to delay the bill comes after President TrumpDonald TrumpRomney: 'Pretty sure' Trump would win 2024 GOP nomination if he ran for president Pence huddles with senior members of Republican Study Committee Trump says 'no doubt' Tiger Woods will be back after accident MORE on Tuesday broke his silence on the legislation, urging House Republicans to vote against the bill.

“I hope all Republican House Members vote NO on FISA until such time as our Country is able to determine how and why the greatest political, criminal, and subversive scandal in USA history took place!” Trump tweeted.

Trump has alleged that FISA was abused by the FBI to improperly surveil members of his 2016 campaign and undermine his White House bid. 

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A Justice Department inspector general investigation completed last year faulted the FBI for errors and omissions in surveillance applications used to wiretap former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page as part of the bureau’s investigation into Russian interference in the election, but said it did not find evidence of political bias.

McCarthy's request adds to the already precarious situation of the surveillance bill, with support on the left appearing to fracture.

The Senate approved legislation in a bipartisan vote earlier this month reauthorizing three expired surveillance programs under the USA Freedom Act, a 2015 intelligence reform law.

House leaders agreed earlier this week to consider an amendment to that legislation aimed at tightening the limits on law enforcement's ability to access Americans’ web browsing history after a similar provision was defeated by just one vote in the Senate.

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenYellen deputy Adeyemo on track for quick confirmation Hillicon Valley: Google lifting ban on political ads | DHS taking steps on cybersecurity | Controversy over TV 'misinformation rumor mills' 11 GOP senators slam Biden pick for health secretary: 'No meaningful experience' MORE (D-Ore.), however, one of the co-sponsors of the failed Senate provision, on Tuesday evening pulled his support from the amendment brought by Reps. Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenCurator estimates Capitol art damage from mob totals K Architect of the Capitol considering display on Jan. 6 riot Lawmakers say they are 'targets,' ask to boost security MORE (D-Calif.) and Warren DavidsonWarren Earl DavidsonREAD: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results Top GOP lawmakers call for Swalwell to be removed from Intelligence Committee House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit MORE (R-Ohio) after comments made by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) about its scope.

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In a statement backing the amendment to reporters, Schiff seemed to suggest that the measure would allow room for law enforcement to continue the collection of Americans' records as long as they are relevant to a foreign intelligence investigation.

Wyden then pulled his support from the amendment and urged House members to vote down the whole package.

“The House Intelligence Committee chairman’s assertion that the Lofgren-Davidson amendment does not fully protect Americans from warrantless collection flatly contradicts the intent of Wyden-Daines, and my understanding of the amendment agreed to earlier today," the Oregon lawmaker said in a statement, referencing Sen. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesPowell pushes back on GOP inflation fears Udalls: Haaland criticism motivated 'by something other than her record' Haaland faces contentious confirmation fight  MORE (R-Mont.).

Demand for Progress, a key progressive internet rights group that pushed for a House amendment, on Wednesday morning also urged lawmakers to oppose the bill.

"It seems increasingly likely that Section 215 is being used in contradiction to lawmakers' and the public's understanding of the law, and that the FBI may be misusing this authority to conduct dragnet surveillance of the internet activity of people in the United States," Sean Vitka, the group's senior policy counsel, said in a statement.