Six New York Dems, led by Israel, break ranks to support a Republican cybersecurity bill
The bill, "CISPA" for short, provides for greater coordination between private companies and the government to share information that might involve cyber security threats. Its critics say the bill goes too far in giving government agencies "unfettered access" to private information about citizens' online habits.
Of the 42 Democrats who voted to support the bill, 6 were New Yorkers, including the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Steve Israel of Long Island.
Several of the local defectors come from marginal districts.
Long Island's Tim Bishop eked a re-election victory after a recount in 2010, and faces the same challenger in a rematch this year.
Kathy Hochul won a special election in a largely Republican district last year, and faces an uphill fight to defend it.
North Country congressman Bill Owens is in a perpetual battle to preserve his seat after winning in a 2009 special election.
Among the more safe members to vote for the bill were Long Island's Carolyn McCarthy, Brooklyn's Ed Towns (who is retiring), and Israel, who normally presents a unified front with the rest of the Democratic House leadership.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted after the vote that she had opposed the bill because "it didn’t strike the right balance & GOP didn’t allow amendments to strengthen privacy protections."
Israel's support for the bill would seem to suggest that Democrats are unlikely to make the vote an issue in the upcoming campaign. A spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.
Despite House Speaker John Boehner's contention that the White House was "in a camp all by themselves" for opposing the bill, one New York Republican, Rep. Chris Gibson, joined 28 House Republicans in voting against the bill. Gibson is also in a swing district.
In a statement, Gibson said he voted no "because there aren't sufficient safeguards for personal privacy in the Bill."
"While improvements were made to the Bill through the amendment process on the floor, the final Bill still had a provision where information sharing from the private sector to the federal government could compromise individual privacy and our 4th amendment rights. We can secure ourselves without giving up our privacy and civil liberties."