Dem: 'Time running out' for cyber bill

Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) on Monday prodded Congress  to pass comprehensive cybersecurity legislation, warning that "time is running out."

Speaking at the Military Academy at West Point, Langevin acknowledged that there is still "a gulf in opinions" about the government's role in protecting private computer networks — a divide that has become "an increasingly daunting barrier" to passing comprehensive reforms.

But he urged lawmakers to redouble their efforts.

"The consequences of inaction are perilously high," Langevin said.

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Langevin voted for the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), that passed the House in April. The measure would remove legal barriers that prevent companies from sharing information about cyberattacks with each other and with the government.

Langevin said CISPA is an "important step," though he said it doesn't do enough to protect critical infrastructure, such as power grids and financial institutions, from attacks.

The Rhode Island Democrat said the federal government should have the authority to require critical infrastructure to meet minimum cybersecurity standards. But House Republican leaders oppose cybersecurity mandates, saying they would impose unnecessary burdens on businesses.

Langevin said the controversy over mandates is "one of the primary stumbling blocks" for cybersecurity legislation.

"It has precluded passage of a comprehensive cybersecurity package, and has in fact prevented the consideration of any significant cybersecurity legislation in the Senate," Langevin said.

The White House has endorsed a Senate cybersecurity bill, authored by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret Collins The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Congress passes bill to begin scenic byways renaissance Senators say Trump open to expanding background checks MORE (R-Maine), that includes cybersecurity mandates. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidHarry Reid warns Trump 'can be reelected' Homeland Security Republican accuses Navy of withholding UFO info Poll: 47 percent back limits on Senate filibuster MORE (D-Nev.) has said he plans to bring the Lieberman-Collins bill to a vote, but opposition from many Senate Republicans makes its fate unclear.

Privacy advocates have criticized both the House and Senate cybersecurity bills, warning they would encourage companies to hand their customers' private information over to military spy agencies.