Washington

Cybersecurity Bill Fails To Get Floor Vote

Bill is effectively dead, at least in lame duck session 11/15/2012 10:04:34 AM Eastern

A Democrat-backed version of cybersecurity
legislation failed to win enough votes Tuesday to end debate and proceed to a
vote, essentially once again killing its chances for passage, at least in the
lame duck session
.

Earlier
in the day, Reid had said "Democrats and Republicans need to work together
to address what national security experts have called 'the most serious
challenge to our national security since the onset of the nuclear age sixty
years ago.'

But
the bill failed once again to gain enough Republican votes to meet the 60-vote
threshold.

The
legislation would have created voluntary cybersecurity standards that the
Republicans maintain could too easily morph into government mandates that
reduce the flexibility of private industry to respond to cyber threats in real
time.

Senator
Chuck Grassley (R-Neb.), in arguing against the bill, said he was concerned
with the Department of Homeland Security's roles as cybersecurity gatekeeper,
particularly given a report from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on
Investigations critical of the department. "I'm baffled why the Senate
would take an agency that has proven problems with overseeing critical
infrastructure, and give them chief responsibility for our country's cybersecurity."       

President
Barack Obama has threatened to mandate creation of those voluntary
cybersecurity standards via executive order if the Congress fails to act.

Senate
Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D- W.Va.) blasted Republicans for
blocking the bill, and urged the President to "employ all available
executive means" to boost national security. "I hope that my
colleagues will reconsider the path we're on," he said in a floor
statement. "At some point, if we don't do anything, there will be a major
cyber attack and it will do great damage to the United States.  After it's
over, the American people will ask, just as they asked after 9/11, what could
we have done to stop this?

September
October