Cybersecurity Bill Dies In Senate, Despite Need

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After three years of work on cybersecurity legislation,
the Senate failed last week to vote on a compromise
bill that was still too regulatory for the
Chamber of Commerce and some cable operators.

More negotiating
could go on during Congress’
August recess,
which started last week,
but with an election
approaching and the
House still needing to
conference on whatever
the Senate produces,
prospects dimmed for a
bill this Congress, much
to the chagrin of its
backers.

The Senate voted 52 to 46 not to invoke cloture
and proceed to a vote on S.3414, the Cybersecurity
Act of 2012. That was a procedural move by Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in recognition
of the inability of bill backers, mostly Democrats,
and opponents, mostly Republicans, to agree on a
path forward for the bill.

“This is one of those days when I fear for our
country and am not proud of the U.S. Senate,” said
chief bill backer Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) on the
Senate floor last week.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association
had no comment on the bill, though it did
favor a Republican alternative, the SECURE It Act,
that members of that party were touting late in the
game as a bill that the House would pass and send
to President Obama. That bill focused on information
sharing among companies and the government,
and on liability immunity for those companies for
breaches or attacks related to that sharing, both
things industry players favor.

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