Bipartisan, My --- : McCain to introduce competing bill to Cybersecurity Act

The Cybersecurity Act, introduced by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Me.), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), was supposed to have the fast track to the Senate floor. The bill was the result of months of work by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pulling together more than a half dozen pieces of legislation introduced last year by various senators.

Apparently, a number of prominent Republican senators are not buying the bipartisan label attached to the bill. McCain and other Republican senators sent a letter last week to Reid opposing the legislation and its fast-track status. Now, McCain and several other Republican senators are taking the next step and introducing a bill to rival the Cybersecurity Act when the Senate comes back from the Presidents’ Day recess.

Instead of giving the Department of Homeland Security the authority to oversee the cybersecurity of private sector critical infrastructure, McCain’s bill would rely more on information sharing between the government and private industry and federal money for cybersecurity improvements.

“The fundamental difference in our alternative approach is that we aim to enter into a cooperative relationship with the entire private sector through information sharing, rather than an adversarial one with prescriptive regulations. Our bill, which will be introduced when we return from the Presidents’ Day recess, will provide a common-sense path forward to improve our nation's cybersecurity defenses”, McCain said in an statement before last week’s hearing on the Cybersecurity Act.

“We believe that by improving information sharing among the private sector and government; updating our criminal code to reflect the threat cyber criminals pose; reforming the Federal Information Security Management Act; and focusing federal investments in cybersecurity; our nation will be better able to defend itself against cyber attacks”, McCain explained.

A report by the Daily Caller indicated that the McCain bill would also grant more authority to the National Security Agency and the US Cyber Command to oversee cybersecurity of critical infrastructure.

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