US representatives vote to increase intelligence spending

House of Representatives approves bill boosting expenses of intelligence institutions by seven percent

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a spending bill that increases intelligence spending by 7 percent and also carries significant policy implications for the Obama administration.

The bill passed in a 364 to 38 vote, and will now have to be reconciled with a version waiting in the Senate.

Among other things, the unclassified 67 pages of the bill requires President Barack Obama to "Report on United States counterterrorism strategy to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and their affiliated groups, associated groups, and adherents" no more than 180 days after the bill is passed.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is required to report to Congress on the flow of foreign fighters to and from Syria and Iraq every 60 days.

Clapper is also required to report within 180 days to Congress on Russia’s "use of political assassinations as a form of statecraft."

The bill further restricts Obama’s privacy and civil liberties oversight board from acquiring information about covert CIA operations.

House Speaker Paul Ryan lauded the passage of the Intelligence Authorization Act, saying that the recent attacks in Paris claimed by DAESH "were a painful reminder that we must always be vigilant against threats at home and abroad."

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes said in a statement, “Our enemies are rapidly improving their ability to launch devastating cyberattacks and deadly terror strikes. Amid these elevated threat levels, it’s crucial that our intelligence professionals receive the resources they need to keep Americans safe."