Clearly, because House Republicans have prioritized politics over our national security, we will no longer have a bipartisan veto-proof majority, Pelosi wrote.
The House had been expected to easily approve the bill this week, with an unusual alliance of Republicans and Democrats who carried a similar version across the floor in March. But that fragile coalition collapsed this week as Trump suddenly intervened, issuing a veto threat that seemed to contradict his own administrations efforts to renew the law.
GOP support for the measure quickly crumbled, forcing Democrats to summon the votes on their own.
But the Democratic caucus was facing its own revolt from the left, with about 100 progressives refusing to back legislation they saw as undermining privacy rights of Americans. And last-minute language from senior Democrats close to Pelosi, like House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), further muddied the waters for an uneasy left wing.
The retreat by Democrats comes after hours of frenetic, but ultimately unsuccessful, maneuvering by Pelosi and her leadership team on Wednesday. But it had been clear for much of the day that Democrats would not be able to win over enough progressives to pass the bill and send it to Trumps desk.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) acknowledged the difficult math on Wednesday evening, shortly after he and Pelosi called off their planned vote and sent members home for the night.
Frankly, I never expected to win this vote FISA has always been bipartisan, Hoyer said.
Trump has rooted his objections to FISA renewal in his disputed claims that the FBI abused its surveillance powers to monitor his campaign in 2016. Though an inspector general review found that a FISA warrant to monitor former Trump campaign aide Carter Page contained significant flaws and omissions, he didnt conclude whether it would have been enough to invalidate the application altogether.
But Trumps animus toward senior FBI leadership has motivated him and other Republican allies to call for dramatic reforms to the FISA law, even over the efforts by Attorney General William Barr to preserve them largely unchanged.
Democratic objections mounted this week after key committee leaders negotiated an amendment to restrict the FBIs ability to monitor the web browsing history of Americans. An amendment offered by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) failed in the Senate by a single vote, though the Senate passed its version of the FISA bill earlier this month on an 80-16 vote.
But House leaders had agreed to consider a version in the House offered by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), which seemed poised for passage.
After Republicans began pulling their support for the measure, Wyden, too, bristled at what he said was an inaccurate characterization of his amendment by Schiff. And he began urging the defeat of both the amendment and bill.