A bi-partisan surveillance amendment that would have defunded the NSA's phone metadata collection program failed to pass an unlikely House vote on Wednesday. But the results of the vote are quite notable. The amendment, introduced by Republican Justin Amash, failed 205-217, just a 12-vote margin. And despite its GOP origins, more Democrats than Republicans voted for it.
RT if you agree- We can protect Americans without shredding our civil liberties. Rein in the NSA today. pic.twitter.com/Wp8g4HlTJ6— House Judiciary Dems (@HouseJudDems) July 24, 2013
The party vote breakdown? 111 Democrats voted for Amash, with 83 against. By comparison, 134 Republicans voted against the amendment, with 94 agreeing to it. That indicates a remarkable amount of support, and from the surprising source of the president's own party, for a bill that wasn't even supposed to get a floor vote.
We came close (205-217). If just 7 Reps had switched their votes, we would have succeeded. Thank YOU for making a difference. We fight on.— Justin Amash (@repjustinamash) July 24, 2013
And that's despite a statement straight from the White House urging congressmen to vote against it. "The White House's 'furious' whip operation of Democrats seems to have won today," Amash staffer Will Adams told the Atlantic Wire regarding the high Democratic support, adding, "How sad for a President that claims to care about our civil liberties."
Among the Republicans opposing the measure was Michele Bachmann. At a conservative meeting earlier today concerning votes on the amendment, Bachmann defended the NSA's data collection programs, arguing that "here’s no Fourth Amendment expectation of privacy or right to the business-record exception" concerning the collection of phone metadata. She continued, according to the National Review:
“If we take this program and remove from the United States the distinct advantage that we have versus any other country,” she argued, ”it will be those who are seeking to achieve the goals of Islamic jihad who will benefit by putting the United States at risk, and it will be the United States which will be at risk.”
“I believe that we need to win the War on Terror,” she continued. “We need to defeat the goals and aims of Islamic jihad, and for that reason I will be voting no on the Amash amendment.”
Bachmann was joined by, among others, Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor in opposing the bill. Here's how everyone else voted.