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Public Statements

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, last week we learned of the latest in
the string of massive breaches of private information from cyber
penetrations, this time of government personnel records held by the
Office of Personnel Management.

In its annual worldwide threat assessment, the intelligence community
this year ranked cyber intrusions and attacks as the No. 1 threat to
our Nation's security. Cyber attacks and threats are also a major drag
on our economy, with the theft of billions and billions of dollars of
intellectual property and actual money from our Nation's businesses.
Quite simply, cyber attacks are a major and growing threat to every
aspect of our life.

It is with that background that Senator Burr and I began working
early this year on a new cyber security information-sharing bill. It is
a first-step bill, in that for sharing company to company or sharing
cyber threat information directly with the government, a company would
receive liability protection and therefore feel free to have this kind
of constructive interchange.

The Senate Select Intelligence Committee produced the bill in the
last Congress, but it didn't receive a vote. Chairman Burr and I have
been determined not only to get a vote but to get a bill signed into
law. It should be evident to everybody that the only way we will get
this done is if it is bipartisan.

With significant compromises on both sides, we put together the
Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, a bill approved in March by our
Intelligence Committee by an overwhelming 14-to-1 vote. That bill has
been ready for Senate consideration for nearly 3 months but has not yet
been brought to the floor.

Last week's attack underscores why such legislation is necessary.

The Democratic leader told me many weeks ago that this issue is too
important for political wrangling, that he would not seek to block or
slow down consideration of the bill and would work to move the bill
quickly. So the bill is ready for floor consideration.

Now, a number of my colleagues would like to propose amendments--as
is their right--and I expect I would support some of them and would
oppose some of them. The Senate should have an opportunity to fully
consider the bill and to receive the input of other committees with
jurisdiction in this area. Unless we do this, we won't have a
bipartisan vote, I believe, because, like it or not, no matter how
simple--and I have been through two bills now--this was not an easy
bill to draft because there are conflicts on both sides.

Filing the cyber security bill as an amendment to the Defense
authorization bill prompted a lot of legitimate and understandable
concern from both sides of the aisle. People want debate on the
legislation, and they want an opportunity to offer relevant amendments.
To do this as an amendment--when Senator Burr discussed it with me, I
indicated I did not want to go on and make that proposal--I think is a
mistake.

I very much hope that the majority leader will reconsider this path,
and that once we have finished with the Defense authorization bill, the
Senate can take up, consider, and hopefully approve the cyber security
legislation. I think if we do it any other way, we are in for real
trouble, and this is the product of experience. So I very much hope
that there can be a change in procedure and that this bill--I know our
leader will agree--could come up directly following the Defense
authorization bill.

I thank the Chair, and I yield the floor.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Madam President, reserving the right to object. I am
very concerned about this. It unnecessarily limits the National Nuclear
Security Administration's ability to dismantle the retired nuclear
weapons that no longer have any role in our national defense.

The President's budget proposed $48 million for dismantlement, and
this amendment would freeze funding at that level and at specific
funding levels for the next 5 years. However, the Appropriations
Committee, just last month, provided an additional $4 million for
dismantlement in the Energy and Water bill.

I am ranking member on that committee. It was approved on a
bipartisan basis, 26 to 4. This funding is appropriate and it is
justified. The fact is, there are currently approximately 2,400 retired
warheads awaiting dismantlement. The rate at which we dismantle these
warheads does not have anything to do with the 4,800 warheads that
remain in the stockpile, consistent with the New START treaty.

This is a treaty, not an agreement. The administration has committed
accelerating dismantlement and we should support its goals of
eliminating redundant nuclear weapons. I see no reason to imply
congressional disapproval for this effort and to micromanage NNSA's
weapons activity. Modernization and dismantlement go hand in hand. NNSA
routinely shifts employees from weapons stockpile stewardship and
modernization work to dismantlement to keep the workforce fully and
usefully engaged. It is completely unnecessary to complicate this
process. I object.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


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