Graham looks for middle ground on cybersecurity

The move puts Graham in the middle of a debate between two of his closest friends in the Senate: Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcCain rips Trump for attacks on press NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Meghan McCain says her father regrets opposition to MLK Day MORE (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

The three lawmakers, sometimes called the "Three Amigos," usually see eye-to-eye on national security issues. But McCain is the leading opponent of Lieberman's cybersecurity bill, which Lieberman has said is his top legislative priority before he retires at the end of the year.

Lieberman's bill, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocrats search for 51st net neutrality vote Overnight Tech: States sue FCC over net neutrality repeal | Senate Dems reach 50 votes on measure to override repeal | Dems press Apple on phone slowdowns, kids' health | New Android malware found Overnight Regulation: Dems claim 50 votes in Senate to block net neutrality repeal | Consumer bureau takes first step to revising payday lending rule | Trump wants to loosen rules on bank loans | Pentagon, FDA to speed up military drug approvals MORE (R-Maine) and has the support of the White House, would give the Homeland Security Department the authority to require that critical infrastructure such as electrical grids and gas pipelines meet minimum cybersecurity standards.

Supports of the bill say the mandates are necessary to ensure that vital systems are safe from attacks.

But McCain and other Republicans argue the mandates would impose unnecessary burdens on businesses.

A draft of the Kyl-Whitehouse compromise proposal would put the Homeland Security Department in charge of developing a program to pressure, but not force, critical infrastructure companies to better protect their computer systems.

Kyl told The Hill on Tuesday that he's trying to find middle ground, saying cybersecurity is a "very, very important issue that needs to resolved." He declined to discuss specifics of his proposal or which senators are involved.

McCain said he has not participated in the discussions.

He also criticized the compromise proposal, saying it "gives too much authority to Homeland Security."

"I'm not ready to let them write regulations," McCain told The Hill.