Cybersecurity Act of
2012 - Sponsors Joe Lieberman, Susan Collins & Rockefeller
The five chief
sponsors of the revised Cybersecurity Act of 2012 discussed the
concessions they made to their original bill in order to pass some form
of legislation at a press conference on Tuesday, July 24, 2012, at noon
in the Radio and TV Gallery.
The co-sponsors are: Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., Ranking Member Susan
Collins, R-Maine, Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.,
Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Ca., and
Federal Financial Management Subcommittee Chairman Tom Carper, D-Del..
Press conference participants explained the differences between the
earlier version of the Cybersecurity Act and the new one – which were
made to win Republican votes so Congress can addresses the increasing
cyber attacks, or immediate threat of attack, from foreign nations,
hacktivists, criminals, and terrorists against the nation’s most
critical cyber systems.
The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee began holding
periodic hearings on cybersecurity in the late 1990s, before the
Committee's jurisdiction expanded to cover homeland security. In 2010,
Chairman Lieberman, Ranking Member Collins, and Federal Financial
Management Subcommittee Chairman Carper introduced S. 3480, the
Protecting Cyber Space as a National Asset Act to provide the government
with a clear structure for dealing with cybersecurity, including the
security of the most critical infrastructure owned by the private
sector. The bill was passed out of Committee but was not taken up by the
full Senate before the Congressional session ended.
February of 2011, the three Senators reintroduced S. 413, the
Cybersecurity and Internet Freedom Act, which was very similar to the
Cyber Space as a National Asset legislation. Since other committees had
internet related legislation, Majority Leader Reid directed all
committees of jurisdiction to come together and produce a single piece
of legislation. That bill, The Cybersecurity Act of 2012, S.2105, was
introduced in February 2012 by Senators Lieberman, Collins, Rockefeller,
After months of additional negotiations with privacy and civil liberties
groups, Senators from both parties, and industry representatives, a
revised version of The Cybersecurity Act of 2012, S.3414, was introduced
July 17, 2012, in a good faith effort to find common ground with
opponents of the bill.
Days of last minute negotiations, however, produced no concessions from
opponents. Debate in the Senate took place the week of July 27. And
although a majority of Senators supported the bill in an August 2 vote,
the 52-46 vote fell short of the 60 needed to invoke cloture, or end
Senator Lieberman said because of the urgency of the problem of
vulnerable critical infrastructure, he would "remain ready to return to
negotiations for a law."