Originally published: April 19, 2012
Last updated: April 20, 2012 - 12:27am
With the House poised to consider a range of cybersecurity bills, a markup in the House Homeland Security Committee clearly showed that the panel's leaders fear they are just along for the ride.
Sponsors of the Homeland Security’s contribution to the cybersecurity debate, the Promoting and Enhancing Cybersecurity and Information Sharing Effectiveness Act of 2011, or the PrECISE Act, spent nearly five hours at the April 18 markup walking back proposals included in earlier versions of the bill. The bill was the product of more than a year of work and it cleared the Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies Subcommittee by a voice vote in February. On April 17, however, lead sponsor Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) introduced a substitute that significantly reduced the scope of the bill. The panel approved the amended bill 16-13.
As approved by the subcommittee, the PrECISE Act would have encouraged information sharing among businesses and government; give Homeland Security officials more oversight over some critical infrastructure networks; and provide for stricter privacy protections. But in response to pressure from House Republican leadership and members of the House Intelligence Committee, which has its own information-sharing bill, Rep Lungren dropped many of the critical infrastructure and DHS provisions. If those provisions hadn’t been trimmed, a visibly resigned Rep Lungren told disgruntled committee members, the bill would never make it to the floor and the Homeland Security Committee would have been sidelined. “That’s a fact of life,” he said.
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