House passes CISPA bill
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said the bill was “needed to prepare for countries like Iran and North Korea so that they don’t do something catastrophic to our networks here in America.”
The final tally was 248-168, enough to pass the measure but not enough to override the threatened veto. Forty-two Democrats broke with the White House to vote for the bill, and 28 Republicans voted against it.
The administration and Democratic critics opposed the bill because of privacy and civil liberties concerns. The other main sticking point was that, unlike a Senate bill by Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), CISPA would not mandate new security requirements for a critical infrastructure network.
Although those disagreements still exist, House Republicans have now jumped ahead of the Senate in a race to avoid the political fallout in the event of a major cyberattack.
At least some of CISPA’s Democratic supporters weren’t happy with their colleagues’ opposition to the bill, nor with the White House.
After the White House issued the veto threat Wednesday, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, Rogers’s chief Democratic ally, launched an all-out lobbying effort to persuade his fellow Democrats to back the bill.
“We worked it. We worked it hard, we contacted people personally. Many people I talked to just on the floor,” Ruppersberger of Maryland said after the bill passed. “This [issue] is very complicated, a lot of people didn't understand it.” He said that, as of Thursday morning, he didn’t know how much Democratic support there was for the bill.
“Yesterday was a tough day for me with the White House,” Ruppersberger said.
Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) a CISPA co-sponsor, echoed Ruppersberger.
“It was disappointing, I think it could have been handled differently,” Langevin said of the White House move. “To do it at this stage, I don’t think it was very helpful to get an information-sharing bill through.”
Langevin and other supportive Democrats say CISPA is needed to counter the possibility of a major cyberattack.
"This is not a perfect bill, but the threat is great," Ruppersberger said on the House floor on Thursday.
Speaker John Boehner said Thursday that the White House was in "a camp all by themselves." Nevertheless, most Democrats voted against the bill.
“CISPA would trample the privacy and consumer rights of our citizens while leaving our critical infrastructure vulnerable,” an administration official said Thursday in response to Boehner. “We need Congress to address this critical national and economic security challenge while respecting the values of freedom, privacy, openness and innovation so fundamental to our nation.”