National Journal Daily reported Thursday that Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., says that the Senate will not act on cybersecurity legislation during the lame-duck session, punting the issue of how to improve the government's response to cyber threats to the next Congress.
Lieberman made the comments during a hearing Wednesday on the Stuxnet worm that has targeted the control systems of critical infrastructure facilities.
Lieberman has been working with Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John (Jay) Rockefeller, D-W.Va., to try to merge the two panels' cybersecurity measures into one, but said time is running out to reach a compromise.
Lieberman said he hoped the hearing would help educate lawmakers and the public "about the reality of the cyber threat to the United States and how important it was that we worked hard to develop cybersecurity reform legislation, and how unfortunate it is that the clock is going to run out on us before we have a chance to complete negotiations with the other committees and the administration." To read more, click here. (Subscription required)
Meanwhile, House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., late Wednesday introduced his own cybersecurity bill with Reps. Jane Harman, D-Calif., and Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y.
It would authorize the Homeland Security Department's Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, and create a new Cybersecurity Compliance Division to oversee the establishment of performance-based standards dealing with risks to the .gov domain and critical infrastructure networks. It also would require the Homeland Security Department to work with network operators to develop security plans that meet "risk-based performance standards" and share threat intelligence information with other federal agencies and some private companies.
"From a security and good-government standpoint, the way to deliver better cybersecurity is to leverage, modify, and enhance existing structures and efforts, rather than make wholesale bureaucratic changes," Thompson said in a statement. "This bill will make our nation more secure and better positions DHS - the 'focal point for the security of cyberspace' - to fulfill its critical homeland security mission."
The bill is unlikely to see any action during the lame duck session, but Thompson is expected to reintroduce the legislation in the 112th Congress. With Republicans taking over control of the House in the next Congress, Thompson will lose the chairmanship but is in line to become the ranking member on the Homeland Security Committee.