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Cybersecurity Bill Backers Say They Think Measure Can Proceed

The five chief Cybersecurity bill backers said Tuesday they were confident that the Senate would be able to at least consider a new ,compromise cybersecurity bill, saying they had made concessions on that bill sufficient to get past at least that next hurdle.

Those five are Senate Commerce Committee Chair Jay Rockefeller IV, D (W.Va.), Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) Chairman Joe Lieberman, (Ind.-Conn.), HSGAC ranking member Susan Collins (R-Maine), Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, (D-Calif.), and Federal Financial Management Subcommittee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.).

They have not been shy about advertising the fact that the bill has been modified to try and draw Republican support.  President Barack Obama, in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last week, argued that protecting cybersecurity had to be a national priority.

A compromise version of the bill was introduced last week. "The bill creates a "public-private partnership" to establish cybersecurity standards for critical infrastructure," then provides some immunity from liability for those who volunteer to meet those standards.

According to Rockefeller's office, the bill will also "Incentivize the Adoption of Voluntary Cybersecurity Practices; Improve Information Sharing While Protecting Privacy and Civil Liberties; Improve the Security of the Federal Government's Networks; Strengthen the Cybersecurity Workforce; Coordinate Cybersecurity Research and Development."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled floor time for the cybersecurity bill, which did not sit well with Republican John McCain (R-Ariz.). In a floor statement, he questioned the apparently prioritizing of that bill over the Defense Authorization bill. "Just last week, the Majority Leader stated that Senate consideration of a controversial and flawed bill on cybersecurity -- a bill that has not been considered in the regular order -- is more important and of a higher national security priority than the defense authorization bill. I respectfully but vehemently disagree with that statement," he said.