Despite strong opposition from the White House, digital privacy groups and most Democrats, the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (PDF) passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 248-168.
The vote had initially been scheduled for Friday, but House Republicans moved up the full vote.
Supporters of the bill say that it will significantly improve the government’s ability to defend against cyber threats and share information amongst intelligence agencies and the private sector, while opponents decry it as an overly broad piece of legislation that stomps on privacy.
"The White House believes the government ought to control the Internet, government ought to set standards and government ought to take care of everything that's needed for cybersecurity," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), a supporter of the bill, told reporters at his weekly news conference. "They're in a camp all by themselves."
Meanwhile, civil libertarians, who have primarily stood against the bill, spoke out against CISPA’s passage.
"CISPA goes too far for little reason," said Michelle Richardson, ACLU legislative counsel, in a statement on Thursday. "Cybersecurity does not have to mean abdication of Americans’ online privacy. As we’ve seen repeatedly, once the government gets expansive national security authorities, there’s no going back. We encourage the Senate to let this horrible bill fade into obscurity."
The bill, of course, would also need to pass the Senate—and as of now there is no corresponding bill in the upper house—before it would reach the president’s desk to be enacted into law.
On Wednesday, the Office of Management and Budget said it recommended a presidential veto.