McConnell: Cyber bill 'could help prevent future attacks'

McConnell: Cyber bill 'could help prevent future attacks'
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate nearing deal on defense bill after setback On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Schumer eyeing Build Back Better vote as soon as week of Dec. 13 MORE (R-Ky.) kicked off Wednesday’s session with a call to swiftly move a long-stalled cybersecurity bill.

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) would encourage companies to share more data on hackers with the government.

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The bill would “help protect Americans’ most private and personal information,” McConnell said. “It would do so by defeating cyberattacks through the sharing of information.

“It contains modern tools that cybersecurity experts tell us could help prevent future attacks against both the public and private sectors,” he added.

CISA has spurred a contentious debate over its privacy protections and potential effectiveness.

While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have joined with numerous industry groups to support the bill as a necessary step to better understanding and thwarting hackers, digital rights groups and a growing number of prominent tech companies have pushed back, arguing the bill would merely shuttle Americans’ personal data to the government without actually bolstering cyber defenses.

McConnell and the bill’s backers have pointed to clauses they claim require companies to only share relevant cyber threat data and to remove all personal information prior to sharing anything with the government.

CISA “contains important measures to protect individual privacy and civil liberties,” McConnell said. “And it’s been carefully scrutinized by Senators of both parties. In short, this legislation is strong, transparent and bipartisan.”

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDemocrats push tax credits to bolster clean energy Five reasons for concern about Democrats' drug price control plan Senate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo MORE (D-Ore.) is leading a coalition of privacy-minded senators in a fight to heavily edit the bill. He and several others are guaranteed votes on a series of amendments that would heighten the requirements to remove personal identification. But the edits all face uphill battles and would need 60 votes to pass.

McConnell filed cloture on CISA Tuesday night, setting up a likely procedural vote for Thursday and potentially a final vote for early next week.

“Every Senator should want to protect Americans’ most private and personal information, which means every Senator should want to see this bill pass,” he said. “With cooperation, we will.”