McCain: Senate GOP plans its own cybersecurity bill

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced Thursday that ranking Republican members of Senate committees with cybersecurity oversight responsibility would introduce their own cybersecurity bill as an alternative to recent legislation proposed by Sen. Joseph A. Lieberman (I-Conn.)

McCain made the statement during a hearing on the Lieberman bill before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 was introduced Feb. 14 by Lieberman with bipartisan co-sponsors, and is being touted as a compromise bill crafted across partisan and committee lines to attract the broadest possible support.

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But McCain, ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, criticized what he called a lack of transparency in the bill’s introduction and the fact that it has been put on the Senate calendar without markup or debate within committees with overlapping oversight.

“That is wrong,” he said.

He also criticized what he called the creation of a “regulatory leviathan” from the Homeland Security Department, which would have authority to overseeing the security of privately owned critical infrastructure under the Lieberman bill.

Seven Republican senators on Feb. 14 sent a letter to Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) criticizing the process in moving the bill to the Senate floor without consideration by relevant committees. McCain said that because of the process in moving Lieberman’s bill, the seven Republicans had no choice but to offer their own cybersecurity bill as an alternative that would take a cooperative rather than an adversarial approach in working with industry.

The bill would be introduced after the Feb. 20 President’s Day holiday.

Lieberman, who chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said he was “deeply disappointed” by McCain’s statement and said that the supporters of his bill had reached out to all of the Republican senators now opposing it.


About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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