Cybersecurity bill fails in Senate
August 2nd, 2012
04:07 PM ET

Cybersecurity bill fails in Senate

By Jennifer Rizzo

The most comprehensive cybersecurity legislation proposed by Congress, which sponsors say would have helped protect the government and industry from potentially devastating cyberattacks, was voted down in the Senate Thursday.

The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 would have given the government the three legislative elements it needs to fend off cyberattacks, according to John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism. Those are new threat-information-sharing between the government and private industry, better protection of critical infrastructure such as the power grid and water filtration facilities, and authority for the Department of Homeland Security to unite federal resources to lead the government's cybersecurity team.

Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced the bill.

"This is a moment of disappointment that I really cannot conceal," Lieberman said after the vote. "But the threat of cyberattack is so real, so urgent and so clearly growing that I am not going to be petulant about this."

On a telephone conference all with reporters Wednesday, Brennan and with other administration officials urged Congress to pass the bill.

"The risks to our nation are real and immediate," Brennan said, adding that the White House didn't see the legislation as a partisan issue, but rather a matter of national security.

Republicans opposed to the bill argued that the cybersecurity standards that would have been put in place allow for too much government regulation.

"How can the Senate ignore these repeated warnings from the experts of how at risk our national security, our economic prosperity, and indeed our American way of life it is," Collins asked. "It just is incomprehensible to me that we would not proceed to this bill. There certainly is plenty of blame to go around."

Congress begins its August recess Friday. With a short fall legistlative schedule before the election it's unclear whether cybersecurity legislation will be voted on again before next year.

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Filed under: Congress • Cybersecurity
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  18. Dan

    No surprises. Obviosly republicans don't care if our information (middle class) are exposed, as long as they save some bucks for their corporate friends.

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  19. Ryan

    When some politicians tack on completely IRRELEVANT amendments (high capacity magazine ban) they are exposing their short sighted reactions to horribly violent events in Colorado–and most certainly condemning this bill to failure

    August 2, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Reply
  20. obama wants to be able to ? us

    The limits & restrictions were off the charts that would have resulted in a no holds bared invasion on the private lives of many without a warrant or court order.

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  21. Phunnie boy

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  22. Free interwebs

    Thank goodness! There's something really scary about a bunch of old men who don't understand the internet trying to regulate it.

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  23. 2012

    Could it have had anything to do with the "high capacity magazine" ban that was attached to this bill. I'm sure they expected it to just roll on through and nobody would notice.

    August 2, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Reply
    • NN

      Okay, not sure if that's true, but if it is then those are the people responsible for the defeat of this bill. High capacity magazines have NOTHING to do with cybersecurity. I suppose it would be too much to ask to prohibit this common practice of attaching irrelevant provisions to larger legislation.

      August 3, 2012 at 10:47 am | Reply
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