The Senate could move ahead with a broad-ranging cybersecurity bill in as little as a week, an aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the annual State of the Net Conference, Tommy Ross, Reid's senior intelligence and defense adviser, said the Senate is on track to meet Reid's goal of eventually bringing the legislation to the floor in the next three to four weeks.
While the bill, currently being developed by working groups, will not be truly comprehensive, Ross said it will cover a "pretty broad waterfront."
He said there are no insurmountable disagreements, despite years of wrangling over the specifics of cybersecurity legislation.
"What comes to the floor will reflect wide agreement," Ross said. If the bill does eventually clear the Senate, its future in the House remains murky.
Republican leaders in the House have decided to develop separate, smaller cybersecurity bills in as many as nine different committees.
One of those bills, being developed in the House Homeland Security Committee, addresses cybersecurity authority among federal agencies, and outlines ways to protect "critical infrastructure" such as power grids and water systems from cyber attacks.
But the committee's senior counsel, Kevin Gronberg, said it is unclear what will happen to the legislation if it is approved by the committee.
Industry and government officials, including the White House, have called for legislation to address the growing threat of cyber attacks. Among the proposals being considered are measures to clarify and increase the authority of agencies like the Homeland Security Department to handle cyber threats; protection of non-government networks that may affect national or economic security; and increase penalties for cyber crimes.
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