According to sources familiar with the cybersecurity issue, the president is expected to issue his long-threatened executive order any day, perhaps as early as Wednesday, according to some reports.
That raises at least the possibility he may address the cyberthreat and the need for action in his State of the Union address Tuesday night.
The president signaled he would likely weigh in after Congress failed to come to agreement on a bill in the last Congress, though the Administration has said it thinks legislation is needed along with the order.
If it is Wednesday, the move would come the same day Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and ranking member C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), plan to reintroduce their cybersecurity bill, which Republicans favored -- and passed in the House -- but most Dems did not because it did not include the voluntary best practices element that was in a Democratically-backed bill and is in the president's executive order.
According to a cable industry source, operators could live with the order so long as the best practices regime remains entirely voluntary. Cable operators' chief issue with the Democratic bill was they fear "voluntary" will morph into mandatory, which they argue could not leave them sufficient flexibility to respond to fast-moving threats.
The executive order is also expected to include threat information sharing among industries and with government, which both sides agree is important. The White House signaled that the order was necessary to "direct executive branch departments and agencies to secure the nation's critical infrastructure by working with the private sector."