This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) that would have established a National Office for Cyberspace to guard against cyber attacks (computer and internet-based warfare). This amendment was offered to legislation providing annual funding for Defense Department programs.
Langevin urged support for his amendment: “…Last year alone, researchers recorded 662 breaches at large companies or Federal agencies that left 16.2 million records exposed. Now, this data enabled cyber criminals to prey on citizens and companies with some estimates putting the cost of cyber threats to our economy at $8 billion annually. But these threats don't just come from criminals. It's believed that there are approximately 1.8 billion attacks on our government servers every month. And the cyber incidents have targeted some of the most sensitive national security data, potentially allowing a foreign intelligence agency to gain a ``digital beachhead'' on our classified and unclassified networks. A larger investment in the security of these networks, which has already been initiated at the direction of the White House, will yield huge efficiencies for our IT systems in the long run while protecting information critical to our security.”
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) opposed the amendment: “I oppose the amendment because I believe that this is the wrong bill and it's the wrong time to consider it….just a few days ago the White House sent to Congress a substantial list of proposals on what it believes should be done on cybersecurity. I think the thing that makes the most sense is for us to take a little time and look at what the White House proposed, look at what the gentleman from Rhode Island has proposed, and I think there are some other suggestions out there that need to be considered and need to be in the mix. It is certainly true that some sort of organizational reform may be needed here. But if so, it extends far beyond the Department of Defense, and that is the subject of this bill…”
The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 172-246. Voting “yea” were 168 Democrats and 4 Republicans. 231 Republicans and 15 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have established a National Office for Cyberspace to guard against cyber attacks.