Senate Intel chair: Cyber bill not likely until October

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The Senate’s stalled cybersecurity bill will likely have to wait until at least October, Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard BurrRichard BurrThe Trail 2016: Putting the past behind them The Hill's 12:30 Report Burr pledges to retire after one more Senate term MORE (R-N.C.) told The Hill on Tuesday.

“All up in the air,” Burr said.

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“When we get off of Iran, we’ll have a better feel for how much time we’ve got to do something,” he added, referencing the contentious debate over the Iran nuclear deal that will chew up floor time.  

The upper chamber has been trying for months to move legislation that would boost the exchange of cyber threat data between companies and the government. But the bill has been stuck amid a fight over bill’s privacy provisions and disagreements about procedural tactics.

Senate leadership has pledged to try and finish the bill this month, but lawmakers have a packed September calendar.

In addition to the debate over the Iran nuclear agreement, the Senate must come to a budget agreement before the end of the month, which is likely to take the form of a short-term agreement, or continuing resolution (CR).

“I imagine we get off of [Iran] and we’re consumed with probably the CR,” Burr said.

That means no action on Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) until October at the earliest.

“I don’t think so, but I’m ready to go,” Burr said.

Before leaving for the August recess, Senate leadership did reach a preliminary agreement to structure the first slate of 22 amendments that will be offered when the bill eventually comes up.

While deal will help speed consideration of CISA, it hasn’t stopped privacy advocates from waging a campaign against the measure.

While industry groups and a bipartisan group of lawmakers argue CISA is necessary to better understand and thwart hacking threats, privacy groups and several senators believe the bill will funnel more data on American citizens to the National Security Agency.