U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who worked with his Senate colleagues earlier this year to strengthen and advance the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, issued the following statement after the Senate failed on Wednesday to invoke cloture for a second time.
"The looming threat of a cyber attack on our nation will likely have devastating consequences, and yet when legislation to strengthen our defenses was given a second chance on the Senate floor this week -- even after months of additional bipartisan work -- it again failed to get over the partisan hurdles in its way. The stakes of this legislation could not be higher. The cyber threat is real and imminent, with our critical infrastructure already under attack and state and local governments fending off cyber intrusions. Our digital defenders are hard at work keeping us safe, but they are waiting on Congress to take the next step toward a comprehensive solution. It is long past time for the U.S. Senate to find a way to work together and pass smart, tough legislation that helps keep Americans safe.
"I still believe that the differences that separate Democrats and Republicans on this issue are not insurmountable. We have made a great deal of progress towards a bill that strengthens our cyber defenses while protecting civil liberties, and I will keep working to ensure this progress is not lost when the new Congress convenes next year.
"Congress' failure to act now, however, should not prevent the executive branch from taking available steps to begin to counter the enormous and growing cyber threat. I remain hopeful that Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will convene an inter-agency group to develop -- in close collaboration with the private sector -- voluntary standards for digital safeguards for our nation's critical infrastructure. Though such a step should not and would not be the final word on cybersecurity, steps must be taken to shore-up our nation's cyber defenses. If Congress won't act, the administration should."