Conservatives fail to strip cyber text from spending bill

Conservatives fail to strip cyber text from spending bill
© Greg Nash

A group of conservatives led by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) was shot down in a last-gasp attempt to strip major cybersecurity legislation out of the sweeping omnibus spending package.

The cyber bill, which would make it easier for businesses to share information on hacking threats with the government without the fear of lawsuits, was inserted into the $1.15 trillion spending bill at the last minute.

ADVERTISEMENT
The decision has spurred anger from the privacy- and civil-liberties-minded wing of the House, as well as the conservative Freedom Caucus.

Jordan, who chairs the Freedom Caucus, filed an amendment to the omnibus Wednesday that would have axed the legislation, known as the Cybersecurity Act of 2015.

Notably, the alteration would have also injected a House-passed bill that would toughen screening for refugees coming to the U.S. from Syria and Iraq, as well as three abortion-related riders authored by the Pro-Life Caucus.

The White House has said it would veto any spending bill that included the refugee language.

Twelve other Republicans joined Jordan on his amendment: Reps. Justin AmashJustin AmashLawmakers seek to limit US involvement in Yemen's civil war NC Republican pressed on Trump in primary showdown Harassment rules play into race for Speaker MORE (Mich.), Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarOvernight Defense: Over 500 amendments proposed for defense bill | Measures address transgender troops, Yemen war | Trump taps acting VA chief as permanent secretary Arizona GOP tinkers with election rules with an eye on McCain's seat Some doubt McCarthy or Scalise will ever lead House GOP MORE (Ariz.), Morgan GriffithHoward (Morgan) Morgan GriffithFood stamp revamp sparks GOP fight over farm bill Lawmakers explore ways to reinstate House chaplain 25 House Republicans defy leadership in key spending bill vote MORE (Va.), Andy Harris (Md.), Mark Meadows (N.C.), Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), Barry Loudermilk (Ga.), David McKinleyDavid Bennett McKinleyOvernight Health Care: Drug exec apologizes for large opioid shipments | Schumer vows to be 'relentless' in tying GOP to premium hikes | House panel advances VA reform bill Distributor executive apologizes for large opioid shipments The costs of carbon taxes are real — and crippling MORE (W.Va.), Alex Mooney (W.Va.), Ted PoeLloyd (Ted) Theodore PoeHillicon Valley: House Dems release Russia-linked Facebook ads | Bill would block feds from mandating encryption 'back doors' | AT&T hired Cohen for advice on Time Warner merger | FCC hands down record robocall fine | White House launches AI panel Lawmakers move to block government from ordering digital ‘back doors’ May brings key primaries across nation MORE (Texas), Bill Posey (Fla.) and Matt SalmonMatthew (Matt) James SalmonArizona GOP tinkers with election rules with an eye on McCain's seat Quiet jockeying for McCain seat angers Republicans McSally tells GOP colleagues she'll run for Arizona Senate MORE (Ariz.).

The powerful Rules Committee, which decides what amendments will receive votes on the full House floor, voted down the edit, 9 to 2, late Wednesday.

The effort is part of the small but vocal movement to kill the measure.

Civil liberties-focused Republicans have united with tech-centric Democrats to oppose both the bill and its inclusion in the omnibus.

Amash and Poe, two of the lawmakers behind Jordan’s amendment, were responsible for a letter decrying the move with Democratic Reps. Zoe Lofgren (Calif.) and Jared Polis (Colo.).

Several of these lawmakers told The Hill they are voting against the omnibus because of the cyber bill’s presence.

They argue the measure will simply shuttle more personal data on Americans to the National Security Agency without improving the nation’s cyber defenses.

“I just think it’s very troubling,” Lofgren told The Hill. “The bill should not be in the omnibus. It’s a surveillance bill more than a cyber bill.”

Proponents — including a broad swath of lawmakers, many industry groups and the White House — counter that clauses within the bill ensure that any sensitive details will be scrubbed before the information is shared widely throughout the government. They say the measure is a necessary first step to help combat hackers.