Senators call for action on cybersecurity

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The senators participating in the colloquy on Thursday have been involved in an bipartisan effort led by Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDem senator: 'How many lives must be lost before we act?' Sen. Manchin won’t vote for Trump’s mine safety nominee Overnight Regulation: SEC chief grilled over hack | Dems urge Labor chief to keep Obama overtime rule | Russia threatens Facebook over data storage law MORE (D-R.I.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) to find a compromise on provisions that would incentivize critical infrastructure to meet a set of security standards. The compromise effort is an attempt to find a middle ground on provisions in Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (I-Conn.) cybersecurity bill that would mandate critical infrastructure operators to meet security standards.

Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntThe Hill's Whip List: Republicans try again on ObamaCare repeal Another health funding cliff puts care for millions at risk Top Senate Dem: We're going forward with understanding we can work with White House on DACA MORE (R-Mo.) emphasized that critical infrastructure measures won’t apply to every industry sector. He said senators involved in the compromise effort have been working hard to define “specifically, in the most limited way possible, what is critical to the ongoing daily operation of the country.”

“I hope the Senate turns to this issue and has a full and free debate,” he said.

Whitehouse thanked Sens. Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsDon’t throw the baby out with the BATwater Overnight Cybersecurity: DHS bans agencies from using Kaspersky software | Panel calls Equifax CEO to testify | Facebook pulling ads from fake news Mueller investigation focusing on social media's role in 2016 election: report MORE (R-Ind.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDurbin: I had 'nothing to do' with Curbelo snub Republicans jockey for position on immigration Overnight Health Care: House passes 20-week abortion ban | GOP gives ground over ObamaCare fix | Price exit sets off speculation over replacement MORE (R-S.C.) for their participation in the compromise discussions.

The senators noted that the recent storms that left areas of Washington, D.C., and Maryland without power should serve as a wake-up call for the upper chamber to act on cybersecurity. They said if a hacker wipes out utilities systems or financial networks, it would take longer to get those systems back up and running.

“That storm was an act of God. That storm was just a random meteorological event,” said Sen. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsThis week: Congress gets ball rolling on tax reform Lift the Jones Act and similar restrictions for humanitarian crises Overnight Tech: White House unveils tech education initiative | Bannon reportedly sought to spy on Facebook | Uber CEO to appeal London ban | John Oliver rips AT&T-Time Warner merger MORE (D-Del.). “We know as members of the United States Senate that there are daily efforts at attacks on the United States far more devastating, far more far reaching than that transitory storm. And for us not to act, for us to fail to act in a bipartisan, thoughtful and responsible way would be the worst sort of dereliction of duty.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) noted “this kind of amassing of senatorial consensus, if I may put it that way, reflects the immediacy of this problem.”