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 CollinsHealthcare wish lists: What moderates, conservatives want Overnight Healthcare: GOP infighting erupts over bill | How Republican governors could bring down ObamaCare repeal | Schumer asks Trump to meet with Dems GOP infighting erupts over healthcare bill 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 ReidDems face identity crisis Heller under siege, even before healthcare Charles Koch thanks Harry Reid for helping his book sales MORE (D-Nev.).

The legislation’s opponents, led by Sen. John McCainJohn McCainOvernight Defense: Senate panel passes defense policy bill | House panel presses on with markup | Trump officials say WH statement prevented Syria chemical attack | NATO pledges to raise spending Senate panel passes 0B defense policy bill GOP infighting erupts over healthcare bill 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.