Senate whip: Dems ‘just flat irresponsible’ on cyber vote

Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynDems confront Kelly after he calls some immigrants 'lazy' McConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration GOP senators turning Trump immigration framework into legislation MORE (R-Texas) lambasted Democrats from the floor minutes after they blocked a GOP attempt to link a cybersecurity amendment to a defense bill.

“The refusal to move forward with this legislation, particularly the cybersecurity part of this discussion, is just unconscionable,” he said.

The upper chamber on Thursday fell four votes shy of the 60 needed to move forward with attaching the anti-hacking measure to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The provision contained legislation, known as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), meant to expand the exchange of cyber threat data between the government and the private sector.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDems confront Kelly after he calls some immigrants 'lazy' McConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration Overnight Defense: Latest on spending fight - House passes stopgap with defense money while Senate nears two-year budget deal | Pentagon planning military parade for Trump | Afghan war will cost B in 2018 MORE (R-Ky.) was trying to rush CISA through the Senate in response to the massive digital theft of workers’ data from the Office of Personnel Management, which exposed information about at least 4 million people — and likely more.

“Our colleagues across the aisle have now blocked an amendment that would provide for greater sharing of information to address the rampant and growing cyber threat that this country faces,” Cornyn said. “Sharing cyber threat information will help us as a country deter future cyber attacks, and it helps both the public and the private sector act in a more nimble way when attacks are detected.”

Democrats opposed McConnell’s maneuver because they want the opportunity to offer privacy-enhancing amendments to CISA, which they would not be able to do if the language was attached to the NDAA.

Civil-liberties-minded senators have argued the bill as written would simply give more personal data to intelligence agencies.

“CISA could open a floodgate of information sharing that would jeopardize Americans’ privacy and put their personal information at risk,” Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySenate receives official net neutrality notice from FCC EPA chief braces for grilling from Senate Dems Trump’s former chemical safety nominee leaving EPA MORE (D-Mass.) said in a statement after the vote.

Cornyn accused Democrats of being obstructionists.

“To come out here and to block debate and a vote on a cybersecurity bill at a time when the news is chock-full of the nature of this threat and its intrusive invasion into the privacy of the American people and its danger to our national security is just flat irresponsible,” he said. “These are not threats we can afford to ignore.”