U.S. at Risk if Cybersecurity Bills Stall, According to Congressional Republicans

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Sept. 10 — The nation will be at serious risk if the current Congress fails to reach an agreement on cybersecurity legislation, Republican leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees said Sept. 10, citing mounting attacks against U.S. companies.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) delivered the dire warning at a cybersecurity conference sponsored by the Financial Services Roundtable and Bloomberg Government.

Both lawmakers are pushing legislation to provide liability protection to companies that share cyberthreat data with government and industry partners. They urged final passage during the “lame-duck” period that follows the November elections, conceding that Congress is unlikely to get to the issue before that time.

Introduced along with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chambliss's bill (S. 2588), the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014 (CISA), would provide liability protection to companies that voluntarily disclose cyberthreat data to industry or government partners. The measure, which the committee passed 12-3, is designed to boost information-sharing in this area by addressing concerns such as the risk of a company being sued by shareholders or consumers after disclosing a cybersecurity breach.

The bill has received strong support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other leading industry associations, despite unresolved regulatory issues and other privacy concerns

Lawmakers, among others, have stepped up calls to move forward on cybersecurity legislation after the recent breach reported by Home Depot.

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