In Rare Pro-Civil Liberties Bipartisanship, US House Votes to Rein in Some Spying.

Jonathan Cohn
3 min readApr 19, 2024

Sometimes, bipartisanship in DC is used for good. Although last week’s reauthorization of surveillance powers was a perfect example of toxic DC bipartisanship, yesterday, the House voted 219 to 199 (with 1 present) to pass the Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act — a bill that would strengthen privacy rights.

This bill would ban the government from purchasing data from data brokers that they would otherwise need a warrant to obtain, including location and internet records. Various common phone apps are constantly tracking location data, which then becomes available to anyone with a credit card and a desire to purchase it — a stunning violation of basic privacy rights.

123 Republicans and 96 Democrats voted in favor of the bill, and 109 Democrats and 90 Republicans voted against it. It is disappointing to see so many Democrats vote against civil liberties because the Biden administration was lobbying them to.

Here are the 96 Democrats who should be commended for their vote:

The vote was similar to a vote last week on an amendment to the FISA surveillance reauthorization bill that would have closed the backdoor search loophole and required federal agencies to obtain a warrant before searching for US persons’ communications in databases of information. That amendment failed 212 to 212, a rare tied vote. 128 Republicans and 84 Democrats voted in favor of it, and 126 Democrats and 86 Republicans voted against it.

How did the vote composition change?

6 Democrats voted YES on the Biggs amendment last week, but voted NO on this bill: Lou Correa (CA-46), Steven Horsford (NV-04), Jeff Jackson (NC-14), Mary Peltola (AK-AL), Brad Sherman (CA-32), and Ritchie Torres (NY-15).

20 Democrats voted NO on the Biggs amendment last week, but voted YES on this bill: Gabe Amo (RI-01), Jake Auchincloss (MA-04), Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Troy Carter (LA-02), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Bill Foster (IL-11), Jared Golden (ME-02), Glenn Ivey (MD-04), Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Ted Lieu (CA-36), Jennifer McClellan (VA-04), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Kevin Mullin (CA-15), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), John Sarbanes (MD-03), David Scott (GA-13), Emilia Sykes (OH-13), Lori Trahan (MA-03), and Juan Vargas (CA-52).

1 Democrat who voted YES on the Biggs amendment now voted PRESENT: Joaquin Castro (TX-20).

2 Democrats — Ruben Gallego (AZ-03) and Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) — were absent for the Biggs amendment vote but were a NO here.

1 Democrat — Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03) — was absent for the Biggs amendment vote but voted yes here.

5 Democrats who voted NO on the Biggs amendment were absent for this vote: Yadira Caraveo (CO-08), Susie Lee (NV-03), Seth Magaziner (RI-02), Dean Phillips (MN-03), and Jennifer Wexton (VA-10).

Republican Rep. Nick LaLota (NY-01) sought to weaken the bill with an amendment to clarify that Sec. 2 of the bill would not limit a governmental entity’s ability to obtain information that would be obtainable without a warrant.

It failed 176 to 246. 101 Democrats and 75 Republicans voted for it, and 139 Republicans and 107 Democrats voted against it. There was, again, the same PRESENT vote.

Unsurprisingly, the 101 Democratic YES votes here were quite similar to the 109 Democratic NO votes on the bill itself.

13 Democrats voted NO on both the bill and the amendment: Donald Beyer (VA-08), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05), Anna Eshoo (CA-16), John Garamendi (CA-08), Lucy McBath (GA-07), Richard Neal (MA-01), Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), Nancy Pelosi (CA-11), Linda Sanchez (CA-38), Terri Sewell (AL-07), Mike Thompson CA-25), and Lauren Underwood (IL-14).

5 Democrats, by contrast, were YES on both: Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Morgan McGarvey (KY-03), Stacy Plaskett (VI), Melanie Stansbury (NM-01), and Emilia Sykes (OH-13).



Jonathan Cohn

Editor. Bibliophile. Gadfly. Environmentalist. Super-volunteer for progressive campaigns. Boston by way of Baltimore, London, NYC, DC, and Philly.