Senate leaders tussle over cyber deal

Senate leaders sparred Tuesday over a potential deal to limit amendments on a major cybersecurity bill the Senate is trying to punch through before the August recess.

The two sides must reach a deal to restrict floor debate if they want a chance at moving the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) — intended to boost the sharing of data on hackers between the public and private sectors — before the Senate’s month-long break.


Throughout the day, Republicans floated a couple offers that Democrats either shot down or haven’t yet fully considered. The right accused the left of being intransient.

“Nothing happens around here without cooperation,” Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynBiden pledges support for Texas amid recovery from winter storm Partisan headwinds threaten Capitol riot commission Biden turns focus to winter storm with Texas trip MORE (R-Texas) told reporters.

“It appears to me this is an effort just to stall and stall so Senator [Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell can come out and say, ‘See they killed cyber,’” Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidTrumpists' assaults on Republicans who refuse to drink the Kool-Aid will help Democrats The Jan. 6 case for ending the Senate filibuster Manchin flexes muscle in 50-50 Senate MORE (D-Nev.) fired back.

A broad swath of Republicans and Democrats argue Congress needs to enable greater public-private information sharing to help the nation thwart cyberattacks. But privacy advocates fear the bill simply funnels more personal data on Americans to government intelligence agencies.

McConnell, the Kentucky Republican, tried to get unanimous consent to wave a procedural vote expected on Wednesday and for the Senate to move directly to take a vote CISA, as well as to let both Republicans and Democrats to offer 10 amendments each to the legislation.

McConnell added that his offer is "a good and fair start that exceeds the request from our friends across the aisle."

But Reid quickly rejected the offer, saying that "I can't imagine how he could make this offer with a straight face. To have amendments pending? That's like nothing."

Behind the scenes, The Hill reported that Republicans have floated a deal that would include 12 amendments for the Democrats.

It wasn't clear where Senate leaders stood on that offer Tuesday afternoon. 
The potential deal is still missing essential components, though. It does not yet specify what those 12 offerings would be and Republicans have also not yet settled on how many amendments they would offer.

The content of those 12 amendments will be critical to winning over support of skeptical Democrats such as Wyden and Sens. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenHarrison seen as front-runner to take over DNC at crucial moment The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump, Biden clash over transition holdup, pandemic plans The Hill's Morning Report - Fearing defeat, Trump claims 'illegal' ballots MORE (D-Minn.) and Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyPress: The big loser: The Republican Party Senate acquits Trump in 57-43 vote Trump lawyer irked after senators laugh at him MORE (D-Vt.).

It also hadn’t been fully considered by Democratic leaders.

“I haven’t seen their offer yet,” Sen. Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerHillicon Valley: Biden signs order on chips | Hearing on media misinformation | Facebook's deal with Australia | CIA nominee on SolarWinds House Rules release new text of COVID-19 relief bill Budowsky: Cruz goes to Cancun, AOC goes to Texas MORE (D-N.Y.), the third-ranking Democrat, told reporters. “I hear there’s an offer afoot and that’s a good thing. If we can get an equal number of reasonable amendments on each side and move the bill quickly, good.”