Bipartisanship is back in Congress…at least with respect to cybersecurity

BY Andrew L. Share

Congressional bipartisanship is not dead, yet. On the heels of a number of recent headline-grabbing ransomware attacks, both the U.S. House and Senate are working on cybersecurity bills, with cross-aisle support, and progressing much better and faster than Congress's other bill-making efforts.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is working on a bill that would require federal agencies, federal contractors, and owners and operators of critical infrastructure to report cybersecurity incidents but also grant potential liability protections for reporting the breaches. Currently, disclosure of a cybersecurity incident remains voluntary, which has delayed and also limited the government’s response to prior events. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) commented earlier this week that almost every member of the committee is supporting the proposed cybersecurity bill.

Additionally, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is working on its own bipartisan bill aimed at addressing ransomware attacks.

On the other side of the U.S. Capital, the House Homeland Security Committee recently approved a number of bills aimed at securing critical infrastructure against hackers, including a proposal to provide up to $500 million in annual support to state and local governments to shore up their cybersecurity efforts. Some of these bills may be presented for a vote on the House floor as early as next week.

While not all issues with a national emphasis currently garner bipartisanship support, there does appear to be a unification of interests with respect to cybersecurity efforts to secure the nation and U.S. businesses against cyberattacks.

Nixon Peabody’s Cybersecurity and Privacy Team will continue to monitor developments.

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Andrew L. Share


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