Reaction was swift to the Senate's failure to act on
cybersecurity legislation (S. 3414) before the August break, with bill cosponsor
Jay Rockefeller (D- W. Va.) chalking it up to the power of lobbyists. Nobody
suggested, or politically speaking was likely to suggest, they did not want a
bill of some kind to pass, though both sides did not want the wrong bill, from
their vantages, to pass.
Republicans defeated a cloture vote that would have brought
a bill to the floor without amendments.
"Today's political maneuvering by Republican leadership is
more than disappointing. It's reckless," said the chairman of the Senate
Commerce Committee. "We worked hard for more than three years and now
because a handful of Republican Senators are afraid of crossing the Chamber of
Commerce's beltway lobbyists, we may end up with nothing on this urgent issue.
The only thing more upsetting than the Chamber sinking this bill is the attempt
by some to demand a vote on repealing health care coverage for families across
the country and new preventive care offerings as a condition for voting on
cyber security. To combine those two issues is a cynical, Republican political
industry group TechAmerica said it, too, was disappointed a compromise bill
could not be hammered out, although it had its own issues with Rockefeller's
"We are encouraged by the efforts of all Senators to work so
feverishly to try to find a compromise on cybersecurity legislation but
ultimately disappointed in the failure to do so," said TechAmerica president
and CEO Shawn Osborne. "Several proposals under consideration by the
Senate include elements that would further this nation's cyber defenses and we
encourage Senators to work together during August to come to consensus and
return in September to pass legislation on this critical issue."
Another group backing an industry-led cybersecurity effort,
the Information Technology Industry Council, suggested a compromise was not
close at hand.
"The Senate [cloture] vote is a reminder that we have a
long way still to go," the group said. "We hope that, despite this setback,
Senators will continue to work with stakeholders and reach agreement on a
proposal that embraces security innovation as the best way to counter the
threats we all know are out there. Any effort must recognize the critical
importance of private-sector leadership for information and communications
technology innovation, increased information sharing, and a risk-management
The ACLU saw the vote as blocking a bill that had been
improved along the way.
"S. 3414, the Cybersecurity Act, was recently
significantly improved with several new privacy- oriented changes, including a
mandate that information shared with the government under the program go to
civilian agencies and not the National Security Agency or other military
components," said ACLU. "The bill would have required annual reports
from the departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Defense as well as the
Intelligence Community Inspectors General, which would have described what
information is received, who gets it, and what is done with it. It also would
have given Americans the right to sue the government if it intentionally or
willfully violates the law."
Those were some of the changes made during negotiations over
the past week or so, but the bill remained to regulatory for many industry