A House subcommittee kicked off this year's cybersecurity agenda by approving a bill designed to protect "critical infrastructure" from cyberattacks, even as a Senate bill waits in the wings.
Leaders in both the Senate and the House, as well as President Obama, have said they want to pass broad cybersecurity legislation this year. Senate leaders had been expected to introduce their version as soon as this week, but a Senate aide now say that's unlikely.
Senate staffers are working to forge agreement on a comprehensive bill, while the House is pursuing, smaller, separate pieces of legislation.
On Wednesday the House Homeland Security Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies Subcommittee approved H.R. 3674, the Promoting and Enhancing Cybersecurity and Information Sharing Effectiveness Act of 2011 (The PrECISE Act), with a voice vote.
The bill would task the Homeland Security Department with determining what "critical infrastructure" like the power grid or financial systems, need federal oversight from existing agencies. The bill would also would establish a National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center to coordinate federal cybersecurity efforts.
"Government should enable and facilitate the private sector in this effort by providing threat information, standards and best practices," said the bill's sponsor, subcommittee chairman Dan Lungren, R-Calif. "In this way, we ensure that owners and operators are in the strongest position to protect their critical infrastructure."
More on the House bill can be found on our Tech page.