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Dem senator could try to enhance cyber bill on the floor

Dem senator could try to enhance cyber bill on the floor
© Greg Nash

Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahySenate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap On The Money: Democratic scramble complicates Biden's human infrastructure plan | Progressives push on student debt relief No designated survivor chosen for Biden's joint address to Congress MORE (D-Vt.) might try to amend on the floor a Senate bill to enhance public-private cybersecurity information sharing, he told The Hill on Thursday.

Leahy, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, has expressed a number of concerns regarding the measure, known as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA)

The bill would give companies liability protections when sharing cyber threat data with the government.

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Privacy groups believe the bill would just give the National Security Agency another outlet to collect sensitive data on Americans. 

The bill’s backers — including many lawmakers, government officials and trade groups — argue information-sharing is a necessary step to better defend the nation’s networks.

Leahy pushed to have the Judiciary panel take up the bill, after the Intelligence Committee passed the measure by a 14-1 vote in March.

“I would have liked to have had sequential referral to Judiciary, but [Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyOn The Money: Biden says workers can't turn down job and get benefits | Treasury launches state and local aid | Businesses jump into vax push Grassley criticizes Biden's proposal to provide IRS with B The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Infrastructure, Cheney ouster on deck as Congress returns MORE (R-Iowa)] didn’t want to, so that’s his call,” Leahy said.

Although the Intel panel made nearly a dozen privacy-related changes during its markup, Leahy indicated on Thursday all his worries had not been assuaged.

“If we need to, we’ll address them on the floor,” he said.

Intelligence Committee leaders have been trying to woo the White House and other top Senate Democrats like Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard Carper Biden to host Sinema for meeting on infrastructure proposal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Congress drawn into pipeline cyberattack, violence in Israel Biden to go one-on-one with Manchin MORE of Delaware, the ranking member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The Obama administration, initially wary of the measure, has seemingly come around.

White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel has said the administration is “very encouraged” by the Intel panel's changes.

Carper, who has his own competing info-sharing measure, told The Hill Thursday he was happy to see some of his suggestions injected into the Intel bill.

“My hope is to move forward even more,” he said.

Senate leaders are hoping to get the bill to the floor in the coming weeks.