Senate vote falls short of approving defense act with CISA amendment

The Senate failed to get enough votes to move the Defense Authorizaton Act forward, and with it, CISA.
The Senate failed to get enough votes to move the Defense Authorizaton Act forward, and with it, CISA.

Calling Senate Democrats out for a 56-40 vote Thursday that failed to garner enough support to more the Defense Authorization Bill forward, and with it the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), that Republicans had attached to the bill, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said “the refusal to move forward with this legislation, particularly the cybersecurity part of this discussion, is just unconscionable.”

CISA had enjoyed bipartisan support, easily passing the Senate Intelligence Committee in a 14-1 vote in March, although it continued to draw criticism from privacy groups.

After the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) revealed a data breach that is now believed to have exposed the social security numbers and personnel information on every federal worker, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., tried to attached CISA to the Defense Authorization Bill and fast track its passage.

Prior to the vote and amid Republican criticism, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid noted that Democrats had been trying for five years to pass a cybersecurity bill but it was consistently blocked by Republicans.  

“So why does the Republican leader now come and say look how strong I am on cybersecurity, look at me, I lifted my cybersecurity weights this morning,” Reid said in a statement issued the day before the vote. “But what he's done is now he's going to put cybersecurity on this bill the President has said he's going to veto.”

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