Outlook for Federal Cybersecurity Legislation
In the aftermath of the U.S.-China bilateral discussions on cybersecurity and with growing concerns for cybersecurity in Congress, there is still time for the Senate to move cybersecurity legislation. The Senate could bring up S. 754, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) as early as this week or in the first few weeks of October. The Senate leadership had reached an agreement for floor consideration of CISA that allows for bill sponsors Senator Richard Burr and Senator Dianne Feinstein to offer a substitute amendment, which will modify the underlying bill text, and for consideration of 21 other amendments—10 from Senate Republicans and 11 from Senate Democrats.
While the Senate agenda is packed with must-pass legislation, such as appropriations, surface transportation reauthorization and raising the debt limit, members have raised serious concerns post the U.S. –China meetings last week on levels of cyber preparedness for the nation.
The House has already passed two cybersecurity information sharing bills that are similar, but not identical, to CISA. H.R. 1560, the Protecting Cyber Networks Act passed the House on April 22, 2015, and H.R. 1731, the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act passed the House on April 23, 2015.
The White House has offered qualified support for H.R. 1560, H.R. 1731 and S. 754 and earlier this year President Obama made a concerted push on cybersecurity by highlighting the issue during the 2015 State of the Union and submitting draft legislation. The next few weeks will be telling on whether or not the global concerns can push the ball forward to get the bill done this year.