Originally published: April 22, 2012
Last updated: April 22, 2012 - 1:57pm
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced that the House will vote on four bills next week to improve the nation's defenses against cyberattacks. But left off the list was the Homeland Security Committee's Precise Act, which the panel approved on April 18. Bill author Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) scaled back the legislation in a last-minute attempt to win the support of GOP House leaders, who had made it clear that they wouldn't support any bill that would create new regulations for cybersecurity.
Rep Pete King (R-NY), who chairs the Homeland Security Committee and supports the Precise Act, said the measure could still come up for a vote next week. Democrats on the committee voted against the Precise Act on April 18, accusing the panel's Republicans of gutting their own bill to appease their party's leaders. The revised version of the bill would still authorize the Homeland Security Department to help critical infrastructure companies, such as electrical grids, protect their networks, but the system would be entirely voluntary. The White House and many Senate Democrats argue protections for critical infrastructure companies should be a central piece of cybersecurity legislation.
The most prominent bill scheduled for a House vote next week is the Intelligence Committee's Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). The bill would tear down legal barriers that discourage companies from sharing data about cyberattacks. Civil liberty groups are campaigning against the bill, warning that it would encourage companies to hand over private user data to the government spy agencies.
Also on deck is Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-CA) Federal Information Security Amendments, which would provide for stronger oversight of the security of federal computer systems. The Cybersecurity Enhancement Act, sponsored by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), aims to better coordinate federal research into cybersecurity.
Finally, the House will vote on a bill from Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) that will reauthorize research and development of new computing technology, called the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) program.
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