The House Rules Committee has paved the way for floor debate on revised legislation to reauthorize a controversial surveillance program, breaking a months-long stalemate among Republican lawmakers just days before the law is due to expire.

The panel voted 9-2 on Tuesday night in favor of a rule for debate on a measure to renew Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The program, which sunsets on April 19, allows U.S. intelligence agencies to conduct warrantless surveillance of the electronic communications of foreigners outside the country, but also captures the personal data of an unknown number of Americans.

The House is set to vote on the rule Wednesday afternoon. If it is approved, lawmakers would consider a handful of amendments, including one that would require federal law enforcement to get a warrant before searching for information about Americans retrieved by powerful electronic spying tools — a mandate the Biden administration has vigorously objected to.

The committee also greenlit votes on five other amendments to the bill. One would allow information gleaned under Section 702 to be used to vet foreigners traveling into the country, while another would codify the National Security Agency’s ban on the “Abouts” collection — the gathering of digital communications that contain incidental mentions of foreign surveillance targets.

Tuesday night’s vote marked the third time the committee had tried to move a reauthorization bill to the House floor. The previous two attempts fell apart because of GOP infighting, particularly between members of the House Intelligence and Judiciary panels, each of whom approved separate Section 702 measures last year.

Despite the progress, there is still some uncertainty over whether the rule itself will succeed.

On Wednesday morning, former President Donald Trump posted on his social media platform Truth Social that lawmakers should “kill” FISA.

The Republican-controlled House has lost a historic number of such votes this Congress, usually due to objections from one corner of the GOP Conference that have nothing to do with the substance of proposed legislation. 

There is also anger among privacy advocates that the rule does not allow a vote on an amendment to close loopholes that allow data brokers to sell consumer information to law enforcement and federal agencies. It likely will receive a separate vote, possibly through an expedited House process that requires a two-thirds majority for passage. The Judiciary panel approved the measure separately last year.

An all-members briefing on FISA is slated to take place Wednesday morning. Lawmakers will hear from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Justice Department and the CIA, among others.

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