Bipartisan Cybersecurity Bill Would Help Public, Private Sectors Defeat Cyberattacks

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor urging cooperation on the bipartisan Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act:

“I recently shared an AP news story with my colleagues. I think it’s worth sharing again.

“Here’s the headline: ‘Federal Agencies Are Wide Open to Hackers, Cyberspies.’

“Let me read just a little of what it says.

The federal government, which holds secrets and sensitive information ranging from nuclear blueprints to the tax returns of hundreds of millions of Americans, has for years failed to take basic steps to protect its data from hackers and thieves, records show. In the latest example, the Office of Personnel Management is under fire for allowing its databases to be plundered by suspected Chinese cyberspies in what is being called one of the worst breaches in U.S. history. OPM repeatedly neglected to implement basic cybersecurity protections, its internal watchdog told Congress.

“This should worry every one of us, Democrat and Republican alike.

“AP referred to the massive cyberattack that recently struck the Obama Administration as ‘one of the worst breaches in U.S. history.’

“But while that massive breach may have been ‘one of the worst,’ it certainly — unless the Administration can be rescued from the cybersecurity Dark Ages — won’t be the last.

“And so, the Senate will be considering bipartisan cybersecurity legislation this week that would help the public and private sectors defeat cyberattacks. The modern tools it contains, through the sharing of threat information, would provide for the construction of stronger cyber-defenses.

“The top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee says this bipartisan bill would also protect ‘individual privacy and civil liberties.’ She’s right. It contains strong measures to limit the use, retention, and diffusion of consumers’ personal information. Information-sharing with the government would also be voluntary under this bipartisan legislation.

“No wonder my colleague from California joined virtually every other Democrat and every other Republican to endorse this bipartisan bill overwhelmingly in committee, 14 to 1.

“No wonder this bipartisan bill is backed by a diverse coalition of supporters too, everyone from the Chamber of Commerce to farm supply stores to your local community bank.

“This is a strong, bipartisan, transparent bill that’s been meticulously vetted by both parties in committee and that’s been available online for months for anyone to read.

“My friend the Democratic Leader has also publicly declared that the Senate could finish this bill ‘in a couple of days’.

“‘In a couple of days,’ he said, ‘at the most.’

“So, with cooperation, we can pass the bipartisan bill this week.

“There will also be an opportunity for members of both parties to offer amendments. I urge colleagues who wish to do so to begin working with the bill managers now.

“This legislation is the work of many members. I mentioned Ranking Member Feinstein earlier, who’s been a key player on this issue. I also want to thank Chairman Burr for his strong leadership and for his hard work across the aisle in developing this bipartisan bill.

“I urge the Senate to allow us to act and pass it this week.

“The House of Representatives has already passed two similar White House-backed cybersecurity bills.

“The sooner we pass ours, the sooner we can conference with the House to finally get a good cybersecurity law on the books — and the sooner our country can better protect more Americans from these types of attacks.”

Related Issues: Cybersecurity