Legislation making its way through the U.S. House of Representatives that could further erode our civil liberties would be vetoed by President Obama were it to reach his desk in its current form, the White House said today.
In a formal statement of administration policy on H.R. 624, more commonly known as the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, the Office of Management and Budget outlined what President Obama wants to see in a cybersecurity bill from Congress and characterized the current version in the House — backed by Representative Mike Rogers — as unacceptable.
The Administration recognizes and appreciates that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) adopted several amendments to H.R. 624 in an effort to incorporate the Administration’s important substantive concerns. However, the Administration still seeks additional improvements and if the bill, as currently crafted, were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill. The Administration seeks to build upon the continuing dialogue with the HPSCI and stands ready to work with members of Congress to incorporate our core priorities to produce cybersecurity information sharing legislation that addresses these critical issues.
Emphasis is theirs.
Prior to today’s veto threat, the House had been moving towards a vote on this latest incarnation of CISPA, so the statement sent out less than a couple hours ago is very timely and welcome. Our allies in the Internet Defense League have been working hard to stop CISPA in its tracks; the ACLU even created a petition asking the White House to do just what it did today.
CISPA is fatally flawed legislation. Democrats like Adam Schiff and Jan Schakowsky tried to fix some of the bill’s most troublesome provisions in committee but their amendments were rejected. The amendments to the bill that were adopted amount to little more than window dressing. They don’t fix the bill’s problems.
If you haven’t heard of CISPA before (or have heard it mentioned in the news but aren’t familiar with its dangerous provisions), the Electronic Frontier Foundation has a good rundown of it that you ought to read.
It was proposed in the last Congress and even passed the Republican-controlled House, but it didn’t make it out of the Senate.
We urge all readers and supporters to join in the campaign to defeat CISPA, and we ask all of our representatives — Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Jaime Herrera-Beutler, Doc Hastings, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Derek Kilmer, Jim McDermott, Dave Reichert, Adam Smith, Denny Heck, Suzanne Bonamici, Greg Walden, Earl Blumenauer, Pete DeFazio, Kurt Schrader, Raúl Labrador and Mike Simpson — to vote against CISPA if it comes up for a vote in the House.