Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Sen. Susan Collins called Thursday a "shameful day" for American government, and we have to agree.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, accompanied by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., speaks at a news conference last week about legislation to protect critical U.S. industries and other corporate networks from cyberattacks and electronic espionage. The bill was filibustered in the Senate on Thursday, and Collins chided her colleagues for failure to move the bill forward.
The Associated Press
A bill that would have protected key parts of the nation's vital infrastructure from cyber attacks was filibustered by most Republican senators, making it unlikely to be passed this year.
Both Maine's senators, along with three other Republicans, voted to break the deadlock, but they weren't enough to give the bill's mostly Democratic supporters the necessary 60 votes to bring the bill to a vote. (Six Democrats joined the filibuster.)
The opponents claim that they were objecting to a rule for the debate that would have limited their opportunity to introduce amendments. They also cited complaints by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. But really this was all about political positioning. The cyber-security bill is a major national security priority of the Obama administration, and most of the Republicans would rather leave the nation at risk than give the president a win this close to Election Day.
This follows the familiar pattern where legislation with bipartisan support is being blocked by abuse of the Senate rules. Earlier this week, non-controversial judicial nominations -- including Portland lawyer William Kayatta, who has the support of both of his home-state Republican senators -- were again prevented from getting an up-or-down vote by a Republican filibuster.
Collins chided her colleagues Thursday, reminding them that every general who has studied the issue sees the United States at risk of a cyber attack.
We screen passengers on every airplane, but we will continue to leave our power supply vulnerable to attack in an attempt to appease campaign-contributing corporations and deny the other party a legislative victory this close to an election. This behavior is shameful -- and dangerous.