Senate Commerce postpones cybersecurity hearing

The Commerce and Homeland Security Committees both staked claims last year via legislation that would put the Commerce Department and DHS, respectively, in charge of regulating the security of private-sector firms deemed critical to the nation's physical and economic security.

The GOP's control of the House further complicates the path for any comprehensive bill, since Republicans have shown resistance to giving any civilian agency authority to mandate security standards for private firms.

Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) has introduced a bill that mirrors the Senate Homeland Security Committee's approach, but that bill faces an uphill climb in the House. Incentives and expanding the military's jurisdiction to include private networks have been discussed as possible alternatives.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) has been adamant that Democrats will settle the standoff and pass a comprehensive bill before the end of the year.

Sources told The Hill the most likely route for any cybersecurity legislation is through tacking less controversial measures such as Federal Information Security Management Act reform or notification requirements on to larger spending bills.

The Obama administration has also promised to step up its efforts at increasing security through public-private partnerships, though experts expressed skepticism at the efficacy of the approach at a House Homeland Security hearing earlier this month.