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Statement from Senator Coons on Senate's failure to pass cybersecurity legislation


Location: Washington DC

U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who worked with his Senate colleagues to strengthen and advance the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, issued the following statement after the bill failed to gain enough votes for cloture on Thursday.

"America faces no greater national security threat than that posed through digital channels. The threat is real, it is significant, and it is imminent -- and America is unprepared. The Senate has had every opportunity to take necessary steps to better prepare our country and avert the potentially devastating impact of a cyber attack. By not acting today, we increase the likelihood that Congress' response to a devastating attack in the future will be made in haste and out of fear, and without the constructive deliberation that marked the Lieberman-Collins bill. As we saw following the terror attacks of 9/11, such a reactionary response can lead to broad new powers for government, restrictions on civil liberties for citizens, and burdensome regulations on businesses. Information sharing about imminent threats alone is not sufficient for cybersecurity. It must be matched with steps to ensure our nation's critical infrastructure is resilient to cyber attacks before the phone rings, not after.

"For months, I worked with several of my colleagues -- Democrats and Republicans -- to bridge the political gulf that threatened to swallow this legislation. We made significant progress, but not enough to pass the bill today. We cannot, however, give up. The differences expressed by my colleagues are not insurmountable, even if the issues raised by certain vocal political forces are unrealistic.

"I remain committed to strengthening our nation's cyber defenses, and believe the Lieberman-Collins Cybsersecurity Act of 2012 remains our best approach to doing so. I hope the Senate returns to the measure this fall, and will actively work with my colleagues to ensure that the progress we made in the last weeks and months is not lost. My hope is that our return to this issue happens before the "digital Pearl Harbor' warned of by so many experts, and not after."

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