“I want to thank [Congressman Devin Nunes], the ranking member of the [House Intelligence] Committee. He warned the American public when he was Chairman [that] FISA was not used correctly — that the power of the government overstretched their arms.
“But even when the other elements of government said ‘No they did not,’ even when others [said] everything was fine with FISA, it was not until the Inspector General got his report that the truth was known. I want to thank Congressman Devin Nunes for being the truth, and telling it to the American public, and staying with it when others wanted to lie. That’s why we’re here today. That’s why this will never happen again.
“Madam Speaker, at the heart of our Constitution is a simple idea: the idea of checks and balances. This principle protects Americans’ freedoms by creating safeguards against the potential of government’s overreach of power.
“Unfortunately, in 2016, those checks and balances were not in place to stop individuals at the highest levels of the FBI and Justice Department from spying on Carter Page, an American citizen.
“They used the secretive FISA courts — which are meant to keep Americans safe from foreign enemies — to attempt to undermine their domestic political opponent, then-candidate Donald Trump.
“After years of a thorough and independent investigation, we now know the truth: what happened in 2016 was politically motivated, it was completely unjustified, and it must never happen again.
“This bipartisan legislation addresses the need for greater accuracy and accountability in the FISA process. It does not damage the legitimate authorities our intelligence community relies on to keep us safe, but it does strengthen protections for civil liberties.
“Among its many reforms, this legislation: Increases the punishment for unauthorized disclosure of FISA applications; authorizes an amicus to be appointed to cases involving political activity; and enhances oversight by Congress and creates new Offices of Compliance.
“These reforms are an astonishing accomplishment in a period of divided government. But that just tells you how important FISA reform — and checks and balances — truly are.
“Outside this chamber, there are quotes from famous Americans who dedicated their lives to preserving American freedom. One of those individuals, Patrick Henry, was so passionate in his defense of freedom that he famously said “give me liberty or give me death.” We can learn a lot from Henry’s total devotion to the American cause.
“Today’s legislation gives the American people the protections they deserve. I urge all my colleagues to vote yes.”