As of this morning, over 6 million faxes opposing the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) were queued up to be sent to Senate offices, according to a press release from Fight for the Future. Unfortunately, no more than 20,000 faxes can be sent per day because of limited phone lines and resources for the anti-CISA campaign. This is a substantial outpouring of public opposition to a bill that clearly requires more robust discussion, not a mere wave and a nod, before coming to a vote. “We’ve defeated information sharing bills like CISA over and over again,” proclaimed Tiffiniy Cheng, co-founder and co-director of Fight for the Future. “Congress should stop embarrassing themselves and listen to the experts who say we need better security, not more spying.”
While the bill certainly reeks of “zombification”—this is not the first time Congress has considered this legislation—that doesn’t make it any less dangerous. Congress should not be considering a piece of pivotal cybersecurity legislation like CISA this close to the August recess. As I pointed out in an op-ed for The Hill this morning:
It is possible, however unlikely, that CISA could be improved through a vigorous amendment process. However, that will require a far more robust debate in the Senate, as well as ample time for consideration of possible amendments—something that surely will not occur before the August recess.
Many Senators seem to be coming to this same realization. Senate GOP spokesman Don Stewart has indicated that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had no plans to file cloture on the bill today. The introduction of amendments aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood apparently means that CISA will be held until the fall. However, much can change in the coming days, and the coalition pushing against CISA is not abating its pressure.
The only question at this point is whether the Senate offices will have enough paper on hand to accommodate the coming fax deluge.