After the House Judiciary Committee delayed a meeting on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reform bill, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) accused House Democrats of playing political games.
In an interview on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday, Collins said House Democrats “wanted to play games with the FISA.”
Republicans are pushing to enact a series of reforms to the law before three provisions of FISA expire on March 15, in an attempt to address what they saw as failures of the law to prevent abuse of the FISA process.
However, Collins, on Thursday, claimed that Democrats “don’t want to acknowledge the fact that there was basically an attempted coup,” with the investigations of President Donald Trump and his 2016 campaign.
“What they don’t want to deal with is the actual FISA process and FISA court itself because they don’t want to acknowledge the Horowitz report. They don’t want to acknowledge the fact that the president said this should never happen to another president, and, frankly, it should never happen to American citizens like Carter Page.”
Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz detailed several errors and omissions in FISA warrant applications for Carter Paige, who was an adviser for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Collins said Republicans want to make changes to the law that would “make it do what it is supposed to do and that’s protect us from foreign terrorists. not spying on American citizens.”
“Those are the kind of changes we need to make,” he added.
The Judiciary Committee was set to hold a meeting on the bill on Wednesday but postponed it after Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) was set to introduce amendments to the FISA reform bill that were seen as “poison pills” by other Democrats.
Lofgren called said her amendments were “modest” changes to the FISA law and doubted that they would sink the bill during a House vote.
However, committee staffers said they initially thought the committee would approve the bill without an amendment effort.
Despite the delay, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she is optimistic that lawmakers can pass the FISA reform bill before March 15, when parts of the law expire.
Pelosi says she's still hopeful House can move a FISA reform bill before March 15 deadline …although Judiciary markup yesterday was yanked due to behind the scenes Dem drama— Heather Caygle (@heatherscope) February 27, 2020
"We’re just working through that now out of respect for others point of view," Pelosi said today.
The issue of the reauthorization of FISA has also created something of a rift between Congressional Republicans and Attorney General William Barr.
Barr has reportedely pushed for a reauthorization of the FISA provisions and vowed to implement changes at the Department of Justice to add safeguards to the process. Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans have called for an overhaul of the legislation to avoid a repeat of the issues reported by Horowitz.