On Wednesday, supporters of cybersecurity legislation failed to get the 60 votes they needed to bring the bill up for a vote in the Senate. With Congressional action on cybersecurity stalled, some observers say it’s likely President Obama will issue an executive order to deal with threats.
Computerworld’s Grant Gross reported, “The U.S. Senate has voted against moving forward on a cybersecurity bill that supporters have called critical for national security. The Senate late Wednesday voted 51-47 to end debate and move toward a final vote on the Cybersecurity Act but 60 votes were needed to move the bill forward”
Bloomberg’s Eric Engleman wrote, “Republicans blocked the same measure in August, saying it would lead to more government regulation of business. ‘It to some degree hardens the lines of division, which makes it more likely we’ll see an executive order rather than an attempt to revive the legislation in the near term,’ Stewart Baker, a former assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security, said in an interview. ‘The only other thing that can produce legislation is a major cybersecurity meltdown,’ said Baker, a partner at the Steptoe & Johnson law firm in Washington.”
The Hill quoted White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel, who said, “As tonight’s vote in the Senate illustrates, the current prospects for a cybersecurity bill are limited. Congressional inaction in light of the risks to our nation may require the administration to issue an executive order as a precursor to the updated laws we need. We think the risk is too great for the Administration not to act.”
In a separate development, Ellen Nakashima with the Washington Post reported, “President Obama has signed a secret directive that effectively enables the military to act more aggressively to thwart cyberattacks on the nation’s web of government and private computer networks. Presidential Policy Directive 20 establishes a broad and strict set of standards to guide the operations of federal agencies in confronting threats in cyberspace, according to several U.S. officials who have seen the classified document and are not authorized to speak on the record. The president signed it in mid-October.”