Utah Senator Tries to Attach D.C. Abortion Ban to Totally Unrelated Cybersecurity Bill
||Wednesday, August 1, 2012
A bill that would have outlawed abortions for D.C. women after 20 weeks of pregnancy failed to clear the House of Representatives last night, the sponsor of the measure's Senate counterpart is still attempting to see it passed. Only instead of trying to find a near-impossible two-thirds majority like the House bill needed, the Senate version might wind up pegged to a piece of legislation almost certain to pass.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) is attempting to attach his bill to a comprehensive cybersecurity measure being sponsored by Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). Lieberman's bill, the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, is designed to strengthen U.S. computer systems against electronic attacks. Along with Lieberman, a centrist who caucuses with Democrats, the bill is backed by a bipartisan group of Senators.
And as chairman of the committee handling the bill, Lieberman asked his colleagues earlier this week to refrain from submitting "non-germane" amendments. An amendment submitted by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) repealing the Affordable Care Act was nixed, as was one by Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) that would have put a limit on the purchase of high-capacity gun magazines.
"We can get this bill done and protect our security," Lieberman told The Hill on Tuesday. "Nobody believes we're going to repeal ObamaCare this week or we're going to adopt gun control legislation."
Likewise, Leslie Phillips, a spokeswoman for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said Lee's amendment qualifies as the kind of "non-germane" amendment her boss is trying to avoid.
A spokesman for Lee defended the decision to attach an anti-abortion rider to a cybersecurity bill because, he said, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has been unwilling to consider all types of legislation.
"Did you ask Senator Lautenberg and six other Democrats the same question about their amendment to prohibit the possession of high-capacity magazines?" the spokesman, Brian Phillips wrote in an email to DCist. "This is what happens when you have a majority leader who repeatedly ignores senators' requests (on both sides) to bring forward important legislation and then fills the tree when he finally schedules a bill."
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) who led the vocal opposition to the House version of the bill, said in a press release she does not expect Lee's amendment will take hold with his Senate colleagues.
"What House Republicans failed to do yesterday, the Senate is unlikely to be keen to take up, to undermine the reproductive health of women nationwide, using this bill’s direct attack on Roe v. Wade," she said.