Yesterday we asked: Can National Security Trump Politics This Close to the Election? The answer is looking more and more like “no”. Having failed to reach agreement with his Republican counterpart on limiting debate and consideration of amendments (of which there are now 167) to the bill, last night Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed a motion to force an end to debate and ultimately put the bill to a vote. Reid and the bill’s supporters do not want votes on unrelated amendments such as repealing the Affordable Care Act. In the closely divided Senate (53-47), “cloture” motions, which require 60 votes, generally fail in these circumstances. However, there has been significant bipartisan work on cybersecurity by various Senators over the last several weeks and the cloture vote won’t occur until Thursday…so there is still some hope, albeit dimming, for a compromise. It’s also worth noting that before filing the cloture motion, Reid offered two amendments: #2731 by Sens. Lieberman and Collins to strike language allowing federal agencies to adopt industry-backed standards as mandatory; and #2732 by Sen. Franken to negate sections 701 and section 706(a)(1)of the bill that suspend certain laws to allow companies to broadly monitor and defend their IT networks.
We will continue to update you on significant developments regarding this legislation as they occur.