Below is a small sampling of recent votes I have taken in the House of Representatives. An explanation of every roll call vote can be found at www.facebook.com/repjustinamash.
On Thursday, April 18, I voted no on H.R. 624, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). This year’s version includes marginal improvements over last year’s bill, which I also opposed, but these changes don’t go far enough to protect people’s private data, and many of the bill’s most significant problems remain unaddressed. Like last year, the bill overrides federal and state privacy laws and contracts. It exempts private entities from all federal and state liability when they share “cyber threat information” with the federal government—a term broadly defined to mean any information “directly pertaining to [a] threat to  a system or network,” which could include your personally identifiable information, such as e-mails.
Under CISPA, companies are actually prohibited from making legally binding commitments to protect users’ personal data and e-mail. Without facing liability, companies have no means of assuring customers or employees that they will follow through on their privacy agreements, which means companies cannot easily compete in the area of user privacy. House leadership killed my bipartisan amendment to fix this problem, denying it a full vote on the House floor. My simple, quarter-page amendment merely asserted that CISPA’s liability exemption did not give companies authority “to breach a contract with another party.” It certainly would have passed unanimously or almost unanimously. By rejecting this amendment, the Committee on Rules voted to void private contracts and undermine the Rule of Law.
The bill also inappropriately allows the government to use the information it receives from private entities for purposes other than cybersecurity, such as protecting individuals generally “from the danger of death or serious bodily harm,” investigating and prosecuting certain crimes, and protecting minors. And the government may search through the information it receives to find specific information pertaining to these items, trampling on our Fourth Amendment right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures. Rep. Jared Polis offered an amendment, which I cosponsored, that would have ensured the government could use information shared with it under CISPA only to prevent imminent cyber attacks, but again, the Committee on Rules rejected this important change.
Cybersecurity is a real concern for the federal government and many public and private entities. But CISPA goes far beyond what is necessary to ensure the government and the private sector have the information and tools needed to protect against cyber threats. Just a few simple changes (many of which were offered as amendments but rejected by the Committee on Rules) would have made CISPA more protective of your privacy and civil liberties while still reducing legal barriers to timely sharing of actual cyber threat intelligence. House leadership rejected these changes without even permitting a vote on the amendments.
H.R. 624 passed 288-127.
On Tuesday, April 16, I voted yes on the motion to suspend the rules and pass H.R. 1163, the Federal Information Security Amendments Act of 2013. The bill deals with cybersecurity for federal information systems. (This bill is not CISPA, which I opposed.) Among other things, the bill directs federal agencies to implement information security programs that include automated and continuous system monitoring, and to conduct routine threat assessments. According to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, many federal agencies are not adequately protected against real-time threats and have failed to incorporate modern technological developments into their information system security. The bill helps address these problems. H.R. 1163 passed 416-0.
On Monday, April 15, I voted yes on the motion to suspend the rules and pass, as amended, H.R. 882, the Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2013. The bill prohibits the federal government from awarding government contracts or grants to individuals or companies with federal tax liens against them. Federal contractors are paid with our taxes. They shouldn’t be allowed to shirk their own tax obligations. H.R. 882 passed 407-0.
On Friday, April 12, I voted yes on H.R. 1120, the Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act. On January 25, 2013, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that three “recess” appointments Pres. Obama made to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in January 2012 were unconstitutional, as the Senate was still meeting in pro forma session and thus not actually in recess. Since the five-member NLRB must have a quorum to make substantive decisions and three of its members were unconstitutionally appointed, the decisions issued by the board since the dubious appointments are illegitimate. Despite the court’s ruling, the NLRB has continued issuing decisions.
H.R. 1120 prohibits the NLRB from taking any further actions that require a quorum and prohibits the board from enforcing any such decisions issued on or after the day the invalid appointments were made. The bill suspends NLRB activity only until a sufficient number of members are confirmed by the Senate to form a quorum; the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the appointments; or the end of 2013, when the terms of the recess appointees expire. Unless the Supreme Court decides the appointments were constitutionally legitimate, the bill requires that a legal quorum of the NLRB reissue the decisions made after January 2012.
H.R. 1120 passed 219-209.