Committee approves cybersecurity bill

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee cleared the measure out of committee

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has approved a version of a comprehensive cybersecurity bill that its leaders introduced earlier this month.

Senators on the committee agreed to the legislation by a voice vote On June 24, sending it to the full Senate. Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Thomas Carper (D-Del.) proposed the measure that would reform how the government protects information systems and specifically grant the Homeland Security Department new computer security-related authorities. The legislation passed June 24.

Lieberman and Collins are the chairman and the ranking Republican, respectively, on the full committee; Carper chairs that panel’s Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security Subcommittee.

Lieberman and Collins said the bill wouldn’t greatly expand presidential authorities over the Internet in the event of a cybersecurity emergency, as some have suggested. For example, Lieberman emphasized that the bill wouldn’t give the president “kill switch” powers.


Related Stories:

DHS would be cyber power center under Lieberman/Collins proposal

Senators say no 'kill switch' in bill


The proposal must now be reconciled with the many other cybersecurity measures that have been introduced in the Senate, including a different comprehensive proposal that cleared the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee earlier this year.

In a separate development, the committee also approved John Pistole to head up the Transportation Security Administration. That agency runs the government’s information technology program to check air passengers and cargo.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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