Reid announced over the weekend that he plans to bring cybersecurity legislation to the floor in November after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned that the United States is at risk of devastating cyber attack. It would mark the second time Reid that has attempted to pass cybersecurity legislation this year after a bill sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and other Senate Democrats was blocked by Republicans in August.
Coats was one of four GOP senators that broke from the party line and voted in favor of the measure during this summer's key procedural vote. The Indiana Republican had also been involved in talks to find a compromise between the Lieberman bill and a rival measure that he co-sponsored with a group of Senate Republicans.
In his statement backing Reid's plans to revive cybersecurity legislation, Coats also added his voice to the chorus of GOP members that are wary of the White House's plans to potentially issue an executive order on cybersecurity.
"I hope this action reflects a recognition that an executive order simply cannot provide the statutory authorities and protections needed to address the serious danger posed by cyber attacks," Coats said.
However, Republicans and Democrats alike have voiced concerns that an executive order would not adequately address the growing cyber threat the U.S. faces, and said key measures that incentivize companies to better secure their computer systems need to be implemented through congressional action.
Coats called for Reid to hold an open amendment process when the bill is considered on the floor and to "allow an open and thorough debate" on the measure. He urged both parties to come together to pass a bill aimed at securing the U.S. from a crippling cyber attack.
"This potentially devastating vulnerability requires all stakeholders to work together to develop an enduring legislative solution," Coats said. "Protecting Americans from cyberattacks should not be a partisan issue."