Mike Rogers: We've Still Got Two Weeks to Pass a Cybersecurity Bill

In the probable wishful thinking category, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said today that despite the political high drama surrounding the so-called fiscal cliff and defense sequestration issues crippling the Congress, there is still time to pass a critical infrastructure cybersecurity bill before Congress recesses later this month.  "I haven’t given up yet – we still have a couple of weeks," he said during an event hosted by the George Washington University Cybersecurity Initiative.

However, most of the high-powered panelists believe that with or without legislation, the Obama White House will still make good on its vow to pass an executive order on cybersecurity because the stakes are too high. "We are probably going to get an executive order out of the White House," Howard Schmidt,  former White House cybersecurity coordinator said.

When the new Congress arrives in January, it will work in a bi-partisan way to revisit any outstanding cybersecurity issues, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), incoming House Homeland Security Committee Chairman predicted.  "I think this is an area where we'll have bipartisanship and do it in a bicameral way," he said.

Business lobbyists are putting the nation's security at risk by continually derailing any meaningful cybersecurity legislation, Mort Zuckerman, co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Cyber Security Task Force, said.  "The conclusions are so unbelievably obvious.  You reel back in shock that you can’t get something so obvious like this through Congress."

The long-time newsman advocated mounting a grassroots public information campaign that bypasses powerful business groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has lobbied hard against all but the weakest cybersecurity measures.  We need to "have some series of national programs that just indicate what would happen and find some way to get this on television networks or in newspapers" so that citizens will pressure Congress into taking action over the objections of industry interests,  Zuckerman said.  "The country is at risk on levels that we have never experienced." 


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