CISA Overwhelmingly Passes, 74-21

Update: Thought I’d put a list of Senators people should thank for voting against CISA.

GOP: Crapo, Daines, Heller, Lee, Risch, and Sullivan. (Paul voted against cloture but did not vote today.)

Dems: Baldwin, Booker, Brown, Cardin, Coons, Franken, Leahy, Markey, Menendez, Merkley, Sanders, Tester, Udall, Warren, Wyden


Just now, the Senate voted to pass the Cyber Information Sharing Act by a vote of 74 to 21. While 7 more people voted against the bill than had voted against cloture last week (Update: the new votes were Cardin and Tester, Crapo, Daines, Heller, Lee, Risch, and Sullivan, with Paul not voting), this is still a resounding vote for a bill that will authorize domestic spying with no court review in this country.

The amendment voting process was interesting of its own accord. Most appallingly, just after Patrick Leahy cast his 15,000th vote on another amendment — which led to a break to talk about what a wonderful person he is, as well as a speech from him about how the Senate is the conscience of the country — Leahy’s colleagues voted 57 to 39 against his amendment that would have stopped the creation of a new FOIA exemption for CISA. So right after honoring Leahy, his colleagues kicked one of his key issues, FOIA, in the ass.

More telling, though, were the votes on the Wyden and Heller amendments, the first two that came up today.

Wyden’s amendment would have required more stringent scrubbing of personal data before sharing it with the federal government. The amendment failed by a vote of 55-41 — still a big margin, but enough to sustain a filibuster. Particularly given that Harry Reid switched votes at the last minute, I believe that vote was designed to show enough support for a better bill to strengthen the hand of those pushing for that in conference (the House bills are better on this point). The amendment had the support of a number of Republicans — Crapo, Daines, Gardner, Heller, Lee, Murkowksi, and Sullivan — some of whom would vote against passage. Most of the Democrats who voted against Wyden’s amendment — Carper, Feinstein, Heitkamp, Kaine, King, Manchin, McCaskill, Mikulski, Nelson, Warner, Whitehouse — consistently voted against any amendment that would improve the bill (and Whitehouse even voted for Tom Cotton’s bad amendment).

The vote on Heller’s amendment looked almost nothing like Wyden’s. Sure, the amendment would have changed just two words in the bill, requiring the government to have a higher standard for information it shared internally. But it got a very different crowd supporting it, with a range of authoritarian Republicans like Barrasso, Cassidy, Enzi, Ernst, and Hoeven — voting in favor. That made the vote on the bill much closer. So Reid, along with at least 7 other Democrats who voted for Wyden’s amendment, including Brown, Klobuchar, Murphy, Schatz, Schumer, Shaheen, and Stabenow, voted against Heller’s weaker amendment. While some of these Democrats — Klobuchar, Schumer, and probably Shaheen and Stabenow — are affirmatively pro-unconstitutional spying anyway, the swing, especially from Sherrod Brown, who voted against the bill as a whole, makes it clear that these are opportunistic votes to achieve an outcome. Heller’s vote fell just short 49-47, and would have passed had some of those Dems voted in favor (the GOP Presidential candidates were not present, but that probably would have been at best a wash and possibly a one vote net against, since Cruz voted for cloture last week). Ultimately, I think Reid and these other Dems are moving to try to deliver something closer to what the White House wants, which is still unconstitutional domestic spying.

Richard Burr seemed certain that this will go to conference, which means people like he, DiFi, and Tom Carper will try to make this worse as people from the House point out that there are far more people who oppose this kind of unfettered spying in the House. We shall see.

For now, however, the Senate has embraced a truly awful bill.

Update, all amendment roll calls

Wyden: 41-55-4

Heller: 47-49-4

Leahy: 37-59-4

Franken: 35-60-5

Coons: 41-54-5

Cotton amendment: 22-73-5

Final passage: 74-21-5

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

6 replies
  1. TomVet says:

    EW, I did, finally, get a thank you email to Sen. Crapo. It wasn’t easy. Firefox didn’t like Senate.gov’s certificate, their server doesn’t take HTTPS requests, and other inconveniences. After I turned off all the offending add-ons and whitelisted enough URLs to get through, Risch’s email portal was down for maintenance!
    .
    At last I got a message to Crapo and asked him to share w/Risch. Whew, I’m worn out!

    • emptywheel says:

      Thanks for making the effort. I was easily most surprised by Crapo’s vote, so the more he hears from constituents the more he’ll do well.

  2. orionATL says:

    21 is more than 1 in 5 senators. that’s good seed gor the next round.

    i wonder if the yahoos in the house, to which i am montly becoming, how shall i say it, “structurally” more inclined, will oppose or crumble? i’d bet on crumble. for all their rhetorical fire, all they really care about is exploiting religous sex and exploiting personal-national “debt”.

    you fought a great fight, ew, body and soul!

    as you did with the long march of usafreedum.

    good thing for the nation you were the trained athlete (mentally as well as physically) that you were.

  3. emptywheel says:

    Interesting. The roll calls for Coons and Wyden are almost exactly the same, with the sole difference being Casey voted for Wyden and Flake voted for Coons.

  4. AntiNation says:

    EW: Thanks for your excellent reporting. Would love to hear you talk about this on Scott Horton soon. Notice how these bills don’t ask for positive approval of the spying, only the cover of no liability for damages, same as the telecoms got way back when.

    This makes cryptography even more important. When cryptography is illegal, only criminals will use cryptography- which makes anyone not given a get-out-of-prosecution-free-card shit-out-of-luck.

    It is time to abolish the federal government, which will remove such corporate liability protections from the people they harm. The artificial borders they draw, are supposed to imply citizenship- but citizenship is a bargain- the government is supposed to protect the individual, as the price for allegiance. The Supreme Court has held since then, that the Police have “no duty to protect” and rulings like this only protect shareholders and boards of directors of major corporations, against the individuals whose civil liberties are eviscerated under color of law for “terrorism” I guess as long as 1 terrorist lives, liberty must never be granted to anyone anymore.

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