H.R. 4478 would extend for four years the authority of the federal government to conduct surveillance under title VII of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978 (sections 1881-1881g of title 50, United States Code), as added by the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-261) and by the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015 (Public Law 114-23). That authority is set to expire on December 31, 2017. CBO does not provide estimates for classified programs; therefore, this estimate addresses only the unclassified aspects of the bill. On that limited basis, CBO estimates that implementing the unclassified provisions of the bill would cost $3 million over the 2018-2022 period, subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
Effects on the Federal Budget
Various sections of the bill would affect the operations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC): Section 201 would require the FISC to review querying procedures adopted by the Attorney General and applications for court orders submitted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to access the contents of certain information acquired under section 1881a of title 50, United States Code. Section 203 would require the FISC, unless it determines otherwise, to appoint an amicus curiae (friend of the court) when it reviews the first certification, or amendment thereto, submitted by the federal government to conduct certain surveillance activities as specified in the bill. Finally, section 205 would authorize the FISC to compensate amici curiae as it considers appropriate.