Senate approves bill to reauthorize foreign surveillance programs

by Ramsey Cox, The Hill  |  published on December 29, 2012

FISA

The Senate on Friday approved a bill reauthorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in a 73-23 vote.

The bill will extend for five years the ability of U.S. intelligence authorities to conduct surveillance of suspected terrorists overseas without first getting permission from a court.

The House already approved the legislation, meaning the Senate vote will send the bill to President Obama’s desk. The president is expected to sign the bill.

Supporters said the Senate needed to act quickly so that Obama could sign the legislation and extend the programs before they expired at the end of the year.
Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) urged his colleagues not to support any amendments because he said the bill would then have to be reconsidered by the House. He said unless the House version passed, surveillance would halt after Dec. 31, posing a threat to national security.

“We’ve got to get this bill on the desk of the president by Dec. 31,” Chambliss said on the floor Friday.

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