Home » Bipartisan Bill to Shield American Privacy Clears House Despite White House Opposition

Bipartisan Bill to Shield American Privacy Clears House Despite White House Opposition

by Richard A Reagan

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act, legislation aimed at preventing intelligence and law enforcement agencies from circumventing constitutional protections by purchasing private data from third-party brokers.

The bill passed with a vote of 219-199, showcasing a rare bipartisan effort against government surveillance tactics.

Representative Warren Davidson (R-OH), a key sponsor of the bill, expressed his concerns about the current practices, stating, “Congress must pass this bill to ensure that the unconstitutional sale of Americans’ data without a warrant is ended.” His sentiments reflect a growing unease among lawmakers and the public alike about privacy invasions.

Despite stark opposition from the Biden administration, which argued that the bill would severely hinder the intelligence community’s ability to protect national security, the bill found substantial support across party lines.

Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA), co-leader of the bill, emphasized the fundamental rights at stake, asserting, “Our rights shouldn’t have a price tag. That’s why we need to pass the bipartisan 4th Amendment Is Not For Sale Act.”

This legislation was initially proposed as an amendment to the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act, which reauthorizes Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

However, due to procedural decisions by House Speaker Mike Johnson, it was forced to stand alone on the House floor, where it ultimately succeeded.

The bill’s passage represents a direct challenge to the Biden White House’s stance on national security measures. Senior administration officials have criticized the bill as “unworkable” and potentially “devastating for national security.”

They argue that the ability to purchase commercially available information (CAI) is crucial for combating terrorism and protecting Americans from other threats.

On the other side, proponents of the bill, like Rep. Davidson, see it as essential for safeguarding Americans’ privacy. He highlighted the urgency of the issue, saying, “I hope that the American people start to take privacy as seriously as they take the right to keep and bear arms.”

The support for limiting government access to private data is strong among the public. A recent YouGov poll found that 80 percent of Americans back closing the data broker loophole, indicating widespread concern over privacy rights.

Groups like Gun Owners of America have also endorsed the bill, linking it to broader constitutional rights, including the Second Amendment. “The House of Representatives just passed the GOA-backed Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act—a win for the 2nd and 4th Amendments,” the group announced.

As the bill now moves to the Senate, it carries with it significant implications for the balance between national security and personal privacy. With both public and bipartisan legislative support, the debate over the government’s surveillance powers and the rights of American citizens is set to intensify.

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