Democrats drop controversial surveillance amendment

House Democratic leaders have dropped plans to vote on a controversial amendment aimed at blocking law enforcement from accessing Americans' web browsing history that had threatened to scuttle a vote on reauthorizing three surveillance programs, Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse Democrats postpone vote on marijuana decriminalization bill Democrats scramble on COVID-19 relief amid division, Trump surprise The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep MORE's (D-Md.) office confirmed.

Support for the amendment, sponsored by Reps. Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenTop Democrats call for DOJ watchdog to probe Barr over possible 2020 election influence DHS opens probe into allegations at Georgia ICE facility House passes legislation to boost election security research MORE (D-Calif.) and Warren DavidsonWarren Earl DavidsonGOP-Trump fractures on masks open up House punts on FISA, votes to begin negotiations with Senate House cancels planned Thursday vote on FISA MORE (R-Ohio), has fractured over the last day, with progressive groups and lawmakers pulling support.

House lawmakers seeking the amendment initially pushed for language mirroring a measure offered by Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenGOP set to release controversial Biden report Democrats fear Russia interference could spoil bid to retake Senate GOP senator blocks Schumer resolution aimed at Biden probe as tensions run high MORE (D-Ore.) and Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesMcConnell locks down key GOP votes in Supreme Court fight Will Republicans' rank hypocrisy hinder their rush to replace Ginsburg? Toobin: McConnell engaging in 'greatest act of hypocrisy in American political history' with Ginsburg replacement vote MORE (R-Mont.) in the Senate that would require a warrant anytime law enforcement wanted to access web browsing data.

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The amendment that was ultimately submitted to the Rules Committee on Tuesday narrowed that protection to U.S. persons — something that would exclude individuals in the U.S. on green cards or other visas.

Wyden initially released a statement praising the Lofgren-Davidson measure, but pulled his support following comments from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTop Democrats call for DOJ watchdog to probe Barr over possible 2020 election influence Overnight Defense: Top admiral says 'no condition' where US should conduct nuclear test 'at this time' | Intelligence chief says Congress will get some in-person election security briefings Overnight Defense: House to vote on military justice bill spurred by Vanessa Guillén death | Biden courts veterans after Trump's military controversies MORE (D-Calif.), who was involved in developing the House amendment text. 

Schiff in a statement to reporters 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, an issue that critics have said is left open to interpretation in the current amendment.

Multiple progressive groups — including Demand Progress and Fight for the Future — released statements Wednesday pushing lawmakers to vote against the amendment and underlying bill.

Asked during a press conference about the decision not to vote on the bipartisan amendment, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiAs families deal with coronavirus, new federal dollars should follow the student Sunday shows - Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death dominates Hypocrisy rules on both sides over replacing Justice Ginsburg MORE (D-Calif.) acknowledged that it was under consideration, but "we decided that where the votes were, were to go with" the Senate bill.

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"We have to have a bill, and we have to have it signed. ... That bill in the Senate goes a long way and it is strongly bipartisan. ... We hope that it would be the bill that could get the signature of the president," she said.

It is not immediately clear whether dropping the amendment will give Democrats the votes necessary to push through the reauthorization package.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll Trump dismisses climate change role in fires, says Newsom needs to manage forest better Jimmy Kimmel hits Trump for rallies while hosting Emmy Awards MORE tweeted Tuesday night that Republicans should oppose the underlying surveillance reauthorization bill because of alleged abuses under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyTrump asked Chamber of Commerce to reconsider Democratic endorsements: report The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - White House moves closer to Pelosi on virus relief bill Trump's sharp words put CDC director on hot seat MORE (R-Calif.) and Republican Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHouse GOP slated to unveil agenda ahead of election House panel details 'serious' concerns around Florida, Georgia, Texas, Wisconsin elections Scalise hit with ethics complaint over doctored Barkan video MORE (R-La.) raised similar concerns during speeches on Wednesday.

A source said that Scalise and Trump spoke on Wednesday “and agreed that this bill should not move forward in the House in its current form."

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"We must get to the bottom of the abuses that took place under FISA. Period,” the source added.

Removing the amendment may also cost Democratic leadership progressive support for the bill.

Demand Progress, an influential internet rights group, slammed the decision to drop the amendment Wednesday.

"House leadership has chosen to advance a bill that fails to protect internet activity with a warrant, despite the express support of 61 Senators," Sean Vitka, the group's senior policy counsel, said in a statement.

"It would be unconscionable for the Democratic House to pass any PATRIOT Act reauthorization without critical privacy reforms that would pass the Senate.

--Jordain Carney contributed to this report, which was updated at 3:38 p.m.