This was a procedural vote on a resolution outlining the rules for floor debate on legislation to reauthorize National Science Foundation "cybersecurity" programs -- that is, programs designed to guard against unauthorized access to computers and networks.
If passed, this particular procedural motion -- known as the “previous question" -- effectively ends debate and brings the pending legislation to an immediate vote.
Democrats praised this legislation as taking unprecedented steps to improve cyersecurity. Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-NY) said: "H.R. 4061 sets that course by authorizing funding for a Scholarship for Service program through the National Science Foundation that will provide scholarships for students pursuing cybersecurity fields. The scholarships would be provided for up to 1 to 2 years for students pursuing a bachelor's or master's degree and up to 3 years for students pursuing a doctoral degree in the cybersecurity field, provided that the recipient serves as a cybersecurity professional in government agencies for an equal amount of time. This investment in cybereducation is necessary to meet our enemies on the cyberfrontlines and repel their attacks. Through increased workforce development and continued strengthening of our public-private partnerships, we can and will ensure that the IT systems, on which so much of our way of life depends, are safe from cyberattack. The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act contains the strategic plan necessary to focus our resources to meet these challenges."
Rep. Virginia Foxx urged opposition to the resolution, and to the motion ordering the previous question, citing limitations on Republicans' ability to offer amendments: "I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this structured rule that restricts my colleagues from offering amendments to the bill. We certainly are concerned about cybersecurity, but nothing is going to matter if we don't get our fiscal house in order. The Democrats are basically wasting the American people's time by bringing this bill, which they know has widespread support, to the floor today, as it could, instead, have been on the suspension calendar for this week, leaving us more time to debate legislation that would address the major problems facing the American people and my constituents in North Carolina, such as the status of our economy and what are we going to do about dealing with the national security issues that are facing us in this country. Instead of using the suspension calendar productively, Democrats have consistently used the majority of our time debating legislation that is not relevant to the challenges that American families are facing on a daily basis."
The House agreed to the motion by a vote of 238-175. 238 Democrats voted "yea." All 170 Republicans present and 5 Democrats voted "nay." As a result, the House proceeded to vote on the resolution outlining the rules for floor debate on a bill to reauthorize National Science Foundation programs designed to guard against unauthorized access to computers and networks.