What: All Issues : War & Peace : H.R. 1588. Fiscal 2004 Defense Authorization/Vote to Restrict the Export of Powerful U.S.-Made Computers that Could Enable Foreign Countries to Develop Weapons Systems. (2003 house Roll Call 219)
 Who: All Members
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H.R. 1588. Fiscal 2004 Defense Authorization/Vote to Restrict the Export of Powerful U.S.-Made Computers that Could Enable Foreign Countries to Develop Weapons Systems.
house Roll Call 219     May 22, 2003
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

Under current law, U.S. exports of high-performance computers to foreign countries are regulated by a criteria known as MTOPS (which stands for million theoretical operations per second). The MTOPS standard provides a measure of the computational strength of a computer; those computers with MTOPS scores that exceed a certain level are not permitted to be sold abroad because they pose a risk to U.S. security. During debate on the 2004 defense authorization bill, Congressman David Dreier (R-CA) proposed an amendment which would terminate the MTOPS standard and require that the administration, in conjunction with the Congress, develop a new standard by which to gauge computational power. Progressives supported Dreier's proposal because, in their view, the MTOPS criteria was outdated; a new standard, they argued, was necessary to insure that powerful U.S. computers were not used by foreign countries to develop weapons systems, infiltrate U.S. intelligence databases, or otherwise threaten U.S. security. Dreier's proposal was narrowly rejected on a 207-217 vote.

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