Legislative Activity

Cyber Legislation Coming Soon to the Senate Floor

It appears that the Senate may celebrate the fact that October has been designated as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month by finally considering the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA/S. 754) on the Senate floor. The timing for the bill’s consideration is dependent on when the Senate finishes its debate of the National Defense Authorization Act conference report but it is expected to be considered on the floor this week or next week.

Prior to August recess, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) ruled 22 CISA amendments in order including ten amendments from Republicans, eleven from Democrats, and one bipartisan manager’s amendment. Senate Intelligence Committee leaders and staff have been working to reduce the number of amendments that the Senate will consider and discussing how to handle the floor debate for the amendments when the legislation comes to the floor. Senate leaders are working to minimize the time that the bill is debated on the floor by packaging a number of amendments together in a manager’s amendment that will be supported by the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Yet, given the controversial nature of some of the amendments and pushback from a number of privacy stakeholders, overall negotiations have moved slowly as Senators seek to find a compromise.

If the Senate is able to complete its work on CISA, the legislation will be conferenced with the House information sharing bills that were passed in April – the Protecting Cyber Networks Act (H.R. 1560) and the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act (H.R. 1731). These bills were combined after passage in the House.

House Will Consider DHS Cybersecurity Strategy Bill

On Tuesday, the House will consider the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity Strategy Act of 2015 (H.R. 3510), which the House Homeland Security Committee passed last week. The bill will be considered under suspension of the rules and therefore will likely pass by a wide bipartisan margin. The bill directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop an internal cybersecurity strategy in response to DHS’s plans to reorganize the Department’s cybersecurity divisions without prior Congressional authorization.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Wednesday, October 7: The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies will hold a hearing titled “Examining the Mission, Structure, and Reorganization Effort of the National Protection and Programs Directorate.”
  • Thursday, October 8: The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security will hold a hearing titled “Protecting Maritime Facilities in the 21st Century: Are Our Nation’s Ports at Risk for a Cyber-Attack?”
  • Thursday, October 8: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled “Threats to the Homeland” featuring Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.