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CISPA Passes House, Obama Veto May Be Needed

By Zach White , Apr 18, 2013 05:49 PM EDT
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The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act just passed the House of Representatives on Thursday afternoon, moving the controversial cybersecurity bill, more commonly referred to as CISPA, either towards becoming law or being vetoed on President Obama’s desk, if it passes the Senate. Either outcome would upset many people.

CISPA is the latest in a series of bills proposed over the past few years that have sought, from different angles, to increase the amount of oversight that the federal government has over Internet traffic, including equally if not more controversial bills like the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), which all caused big ruckus’ online during the 2011 congressional session.

CISPA is the only one to have made it back into the 2013 session, thanks to sponsor Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) who reintroduced it in February and has been fighting for it every since. That fighting paid off on Thursday.

The bill, H.R. 624, passed the House after a 1 p.m. EDT vote 288 to 127, with 17 representatives abstaining.

The Republican votes were largely for the bill, with 196 Republicans voting for it and only 29 voting against, with 6 abstaining.

Meanwhile, the Democrats were much more wishy-washy, as usual, with 92 votes for and 98 votes against, with 11 abstaining.

One Democrat who has not been unclear on the bill is President Barack Obama.

After an online White House petition gathered more than 110,000 votes in opposition to CISPA, the Obama administration released a statement of their beliefs, reiterating what they had said the last time around in 2011, that the President would veto the bill, if it makes it to him, though they appreciate the efforts to improve the bill since then.

“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,” the administration said. “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.”

Depending on how the Senate votes on the bill, Obama may just have to do that.

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