The House on Friday approved a bill designed to shore up security concerns with the HealthCare.gov Web site. By an overwhelming bipartisan margin, lawmakers agreed on a measure requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to notify users of a potential security breach within two business days.
It's a bill designed to address public concerns with the reliability of the Web site and plays into the GOP strategy of maintaining sustained public skepticism about the Web site and broader health law. The bill likely will never get a vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate, and President Obama expressed opposition to the proposal, but that didn't stop dozens of House Democrats facing difficult reelections this year from voting with Republicans to approve it.
Here's a recap:
Vote tally: 291 to 122.
How many Republicans voted yes?: 224.
How many Democrats voted yes?: 67.
How many Republicans voted no?: 0.
How many Democrats voted no?: 122.
How many lawmakers didn't vote?: 19.
Votes Notes: The 67 Democrats who joined with Republicans represent the members facing the most difficult reelections and several from safer but more moderate and suburban districts where the issue of health-care reform remains a top-of-mind concern.
The "yes" votes include Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), who is running for Iowa's open Senate seat, and the most vulnerable Democrats that House Republicans plan to aggressively target this year: Reps. Ron Barber (Ariz.), John Barrow (Ga.), Ami Bera (Calif.), Tim Bishop (N.Y.), Pete Gallego (Tex.), Ann McLane Kuster (N.H.), Dan Maffei (N.Y.), Patrick Murphy (Fla.), Rick Nolan (Minn.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Nick Rahall (W. Va.), Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.).
But the bill also attracted support from a notable number of Democrats who haven't voted for similar GOP-backed bills related to the health-care law. They include Reps. Lois Capps (Calif.), Michael Capuano (Mass.), Jim Himes (Conn.), Steve Israel (N.Y.), Marcy Kaptur (Ill.), Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.), Jackie Speier (Calif.) and John Tierney (Mass.).
Many of these Democrats also represent suburban swing districts and would face a difficult November if the new health-care law remains unpopular and a front-of-mind concern for voters. But some of them, including Israel, Kaptur and Maloney, are the type of lawmaker who usually seek out consumer protection bills.
Israel said in a statement that he voted for the bill "because I want to make sure confidential information is protected. That’s just common sense. This is an added consumer safeguard on top of the many consumer protections in the law that already exist. I have been a leader in the House on cyber-protection issues and believe rigorous disclosure standards should apply to all Web sites.”
As we noted elsewhere today, Democratic aides privately concede that dozens of Democrats in tight reelection contests will continue voting with Republicans on health-care-related bills in an attempt to blunt GOP attempts to tie them to the Affordable Care Act, and to demonstrate a willingness to buck their party and seek out bipartisan attempts to address concerns with the law.
In this case, the large margin of Democratic support will buoy ongoing GOP attempts to raise doubts about the ACA. This was the first of many such votes that will continue to cause headaches for Democrats right up until November.
This item has been updated at 5:09 p.m.