Reid vows to revive cybersecurity bill when Congress returns

Julie Jacobson/AP

Bill discussion could give administration cover for executive order.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., says he will revive a stalled cybersecurity bill after the election.

"I will bring cybersecurity legislation back to the Senate floor when Congress returns in November," he said in a statement over the weekend. "My colleagues who profess to understand the urgency of the threat will have one more chance to back their words with action and work with us to pass this bill."

The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 was backed by Reid and the White House, but Republican critics blocked the bill over concerns that it could establish onerous security regulations on the business sector.

Even if the bill fails again, simply reviving the debate could help give the White House political cover for an executive order it says may be necessary if Congress doesn't act soon.

The White House says a legislative fix is preferable and will be needed in the long run no matter what, but congressional Republicans have urged the White House not to issue an executive order.

Reid said even though he is planning on revisiting cybersecurity, he approves of the White House's move to develop an executive order.

"Cybersecurity is an issue that should be handled by Congress, but with Republicans engaging in tea party-motivated obstruction, I believe that President Obama is right to examine all means at his disposal for confronting this urgent national security threat," he said.

The Cybersecurity Act of 2012, in its latest version, would give federal officials more say in voluntary security standards for certain critical networks such as those that run electric grids. It would also encourage businesses and government to share information on cybersecurity threats and would update federal network security policies.

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