Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), the co-founder of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus and co-chair of the bipartisan CSIS Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency, released the following statement in reaction to the Senate's inability to advance the Cybersecurity Act of 2012:
"Despite a bipartisan attempt to reach an accommodation, the Senate's efforts to improve our cybersecurity were derailed today by the obstruction of a group of Republican members, led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Congress has now again failed to address one of the greatest security risks facing the American people. Just a week after the head of the National Security Agency reported a 17-fold increase in cyber attacks against our most vital and valuable industries, it is inexplicable that some of my colleagues still have not gotten the message about the threats to critical infrastructure.
"We have been warned repeatedly by our most senior and respected security officials that the country could experience major economic and physical damage if we do not address the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure networks. Opponents of legislation would have us believe that industry will act voluntarily to secure infrastructure, but the facts say otherwise. For years, the owners of our key infrastructure have had the opportunity to act, but far too many have proven unwilling to bear the costs, preferring to take the chance that they won't be the ones that get hit.
"This should be a time for leadership and for putting aside partisan ideology to fulfill our most fundamental obligation: protecting national security. Instead, many members, including some who have built a strong and admirable reputation on national security issues, have seemingly decided that no cost is too great to violate their anti-regulations dogma. They prefer to ignore the devastating consequences of a successful cyber attack, putting the profits of a small group of companies ahead of the public's safety. Yet, if and when an attack occurs, the unfortunate reality is that it will be the American taxpayer who will be left to deal with the aftermath and foot the bill.
"I want to commend the Senators who made a tremendous effort to bring the parties together and find a compromise, particularly my fellow Rhode Islander, Senator Whitehouse, who understands the challenges we face in cyberspace and the pressing need for action, as well as Senators Lieberman, Collins, Rockefeller, Feinstein and others. They showed remarkable leadership and did everything they could to reach a compromise. Unfortunately, it appears their opponents would rather wait for disaster to strike before they act. While this is an incredibly disappointing development, I will continue to advocate for the enactment of the strongest possible cyber protections for the American people."