Cyber bill could hit Senate floor Tuesday

Cyber bill could hit Senate floor Tuesday
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Senate Republican leaders could bring up a long-stalled cybersecurity bill on Tuesday if legislation to crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities fails to advance.

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) — meant to boost the exchange of cyber threat data between businesses and the government — has been stuck in the upper chamber for months, stalled over privacy concerns and lost in a packed Senate calendar.

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But CISA has been widely expected to finally get floor time this week, although many believed the measure wouldn’t come up until at least Thursday.

It now appears GOP leaders may turn to CISA after wrapping discussion on the sanctuary cities bill, which would prohibit federal funding for American cities such as San Francisco that do not prosecute undocumented immigrants.

The sanctuary cities measure is scheduled for a procedural vote on Tuesday, and many expect it will not clear the 60-vote hurdle needed to move forward. If the bill does fail, CISA is next up, said several lobbyists and industry advocates, meaning it could see the floor that same day.

CISA would give businesses legal liability protection when sharing data on hackers with the government.

Many industry groups representing financial firms, retailers and energy companies have supported the bill as a necessary first step to better understanding and thwarting hackers. A large bipartisan coalition of lawmakers and the White House agree and are trying to push the bill through.

But digital rights groups, privacy advocates and some major tech companies have expressed concerns that the bill would be ineffectual and simply shuttle more of Americans’ private data to the government.

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenWeek ahead: Senate takes up surveillance bill This week: Time running out for Congress to avoid shutdown Senate Finance Dems want more transparency on trade from Trump MORE (D-Ore.) has been leading a small but growing group of privacy-minded senators who are representing their views on Capitol Hill.

Although CISA seems poised to soon hit the floor, some cautioned that lawmakers still have not reached a deal to limit floor debate time. Such an agreement may be necessary to move the bill in a timely fashion.

In August, Democrats and Republicans agreed to consider at least 22 amendments with no cap on discussion time. Since then, the two sides have worked to combine some of the related amendments.

But as of Monday, people with knowledge of the negotiations said there was still no deal.

Wyden has said he would be “very opposed” to packaging amendments together or limiting debate time in any way.

“In the original agreement, I insisted that there be no time limits,” Wyden told reporters earlier this month. “And I am not going to just casually give that up. That’s number one.”

Even absent a deal to restrict debate, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Senate Intel chairman: No need for committee to interview Bannon McConnell: Russia probe must stay bipartisan to be credible MORE (R-N.C.), a CISA co-sponsor, has vowed to move swiftly if the bill ever reaches the floor.

“We can process 21 amendments in a matter of days as long as we have the cooperation of our members,” Burr told reporters recently.