Dem Rep. Markey presses Obama to address cybersecurity via executive action

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Markey accused Republicans of putting business interests ahead of the country’s defense in blocking the Cybersecurity Act in the Senate last week.

“Congressional Republicans once again have shown their legislative agenda to be one big I.O.U. – Insurers, Oil companies, and Utilities. … The moneyed minions behind Citizens United have driven Republicans to prioritize the interests of the wealthiest corporations over America’s national security,” he said.

Markey’s letter comes after White House chief counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said Tuesday that the president was considering exercising executive authority to implement some cybersecurity measures in a Senate bill that failed passage.

Senate Republicans had blocked the Cybersecurity Act, sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan CollinsSusan CollinsSwing-state Republicans play up efforts for gun control laws Reid knocks GOP on gun 'terror loophole' after attacks GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase MORE (R-Maine), which would have encouraged private companies and the government to share information about cyber threats, and require minimum cybersecurity standards for critical infrastructure. The bill had the backing of the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidSenate passes funding bill to avoid shutdown Congress votes to override Obama for first time Cornyn: White House 'MIA' during 9/11 debate MORE (D-Nev.).

The legislation’s opponents, led by Sen. John McCainJohn McCainMcCain, Graham mock Kerry's threat to end talks with Russia Kerry threatens to end Syria talks with Russia Pentagon sending 615 more US troops to Iraq MORE (R-Ariz.), argued that the bill would burden businesses.

Civil-liberties groups and government transparency advocates also criticized the proposal, saying that it handed too much power to intelligence agencies and the Pentagon.

The White House has demonstrated its willingness to use executive action in the past. When Congress did not pass the DREAM Act, a law that would have granted some children of illegal aliens legal status, the administration in June announced that it would no longer deport illegal immigrants young enough to have qualified to stay in the country under the bill.