10.21.15

Senate Consensus Forming in Support of Cyber Bill

Washington—More than a dozen senators on Wednesday spoke about the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, a bill to promote the sharing of cybersecurity information between companies and with the government while safeguarding personal information. An overwhelming majority spoke in favor of the bill.

A selection of statements from the floor today:

McConnell: “Americans also know that a cyber-attack is essentially a personal attack on their own privacy. It's violating to think of strangers digging through our medical records and emails. It's worrying to think of criminals accessing credit card numbers and Social Security information. That's why the Senate will again consider bipartisan legislation to help America's most private personal information.”

Reid: “We know how important improving cybersecurity is for the national security of our country and the financial security of the economy. Even though this bill is not our perfect bill, we're going to cooperate with Republican colleagues. Several months ago, we reached an agreement with Republicans to begin debating this legislation, and now we're on it.

Burr: “The vice chairman and I have worked aggressively for the entirety of the year. Where we have differences, we found ways to bridge those differences. Where we heard from members, where we heard from associations, where we heard from businesses, we worked with them to try to accommodate their wishes as long as it stayed within the spirit of what we were trying to accomplish, which is information sharing in a voluntary capacity.”

Feinstein: “If you don't like the bill, you don't have to do it. So it's hard for me to understand why we have companies like Apple and Google and Microsoft and others saying they can't support the bill at this time. You have no reason, because you don't have to do anything, but there are companies by the hundreds if not thousands that want to participate in this.”

McCain: “Enacting legislation to confront the accumulating dangers of cyber threats must be among the highest national security priorities of the congress. … The threats we face in cyberspace are real and imminent as well as quickly evolving. All aspects of the federal government, including this body, must commit to more quickly identifying, enacting and executing solutions to counter cyber threats. If we do not. If we do not, we will lose in cyberspace.”

Grassley: “We receive almost daily reminders of the importance of effective cybersecurity to protect our private data and the safety and security of the entire nation from cyber attacks. These attacks have compromised the personal information of so many Americans, as well as sensitive national security information, and that national security issue might even be the biggest of the ones that we hope to deal with. The legislation before us will encourage the government and the private sector to work together to address these cybersecurity challenges. This bill helps create a strong legal framework for information sharing that will help us respond to these threats. This bill authorizes private companies to voluntarily share cyber threat information with each other and with the government. In turn then, the bill permits the government to share this information, this type of information, with private entities.”

King: “It's bipartisan. It's got support in the House. Let's do something. I do not want to go home to Maine and try to explain to my constituents when the natural gas system or the electric system is brought down that we couldn't quite get around to it because of the difference of committee jurisdictions or because we had other priorities or because we were tied up in the budget. This is a priority. It is something that we should be doing immediately.”

Nelson: “The threat of cyber-attack is vast and it is varied, from cyber criminals who steal personal information like credit card and Social Security numbers to foreign governments or state-sponsored groups that steal sensitive national security information, that steal our intellectual property and put at risk our economy and critical infrastructure.”

Flake: “I believe that the bill that we’re currently considering—as it is written—strikes the right balance. It puts in place the proper privacy protections and I plan to support the legislation.”

Carper: “The bill would ensure that our government is providing actionable intelligence to private-sector entities seeking to better protect themselves in cyberspace. Businesses are hungry for information they can use to fend off attacks and better protect their customers. This bill would make the federal government a much stronger partner for them.”

Blunt: “I come to the floor today, as I'm sure many others are, to express support for this bill, for the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act bill that gives us tools that we don't currently have—and in fact allows us to get beyond some of the barriers that we do currently have—a bill that would allow individuals who see the information that they're responsible for being attacked, to call others in their same business and say here's what's happening to us right now. If you're not seeing it already, you should be looking for it. And when they do that, it doesn't violate any competitive sharing of information.”