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New Year's resolution: Reid pledges debate on cybersecurity legislation

17 November 2011

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to hold floor debate on comprehensive cybersecurity legislation in the first work period of the 2012 legislative session.

Reid has been struggling to get consensus within his own party, as well as from Republication senators, on a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity legislation. Currently, there are a slew of separate cybersecurity bills making their way through various Senate committees.

This week, Reid sent a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pledging to bring comprehensive cybersecurity legislation to the floor early next year, according to a statement by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

“Every day Congress fails to strengthen the cybersecurity of the nation’s critical infrastructure is another day of unacceptable risk for our country. Hackers, criminals, and antagonistic foreign powers are maliciously probing our cyber defenses every day on an unprecedented scale, and it is no secret they have found our defenses to be vulnerable”, said Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Tom Carper (D-Del.). The senators are members of the committee and sponsors of one of the numerous pieces of cybersecurity legislation – Cybersecurity and Internet Freedom Act (S.413).

“For that reason, we are grateful Majority Leader Reid has scheduled debate on this important national and economic security legislation shortly after Congress reconvenes next year. We share his sense of urgency and commend him for his commitment to bipartisanship and ensuring private sector participation in this process. There is no such thing as 100% security, on- or offline, but we must take action to strengthen our defenses against those who are constantly working to do us harm”, they added.

Even if Reid manages to corral all of the Democratic senators who have sponsored cybersecurity legislation and convince the Republican minority to back his efforts, he still faces a challenge convincing a Republican-controlled House to go along. A task force set up by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) issued a report in September that basically rejected the Democratic approach to cybersecurity legislation.

This article is featured in:
Compliance and Policy  •  Internet and Network Security  •  Public Sector


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