Senators meet to move on cybersecurity

A bipartisan group of senators met on Wednesday morning to discuss how to bridge their differences on cybersecurity legislation.

The meeting comes as the Senate is expected to move to Sen. Joe Lieberman's (I-Conn.) cybersecurity bill as soon as Wednesday. The participants in the meeting included Lieberman and the co-sponsors of his bill, as well as Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCindy McCain says no one in Republican Party carries 'voice of reason' after husband's death Anti-gun violence organization endorses Kelly's Senate bid McCain's family, McCain Institute to promote #ActsOfCivility in marking first anniversary of senator's death MORE (R-Ariz.) and some of the backers of his competing cybersecurity measure.


Other participants included senators who have been involved in a compromise effort on the issue.

The meeting focused on identifying the specific issues members have with Lieberman's bill, particularly the critical infrastructure section, according to an aide familiar with the meeting. That section proposes to create a voluntary program where operators of critical infrastructure would certify that they meet security standards developed by a government-led council in exchange for incentives.

Republican senators and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have raised concerns that provisions in that section would saddle operators of critical infrastructure with burdensome regulations.

Sen. Saxby ChamblissClarence (Saxby) Saxby ChamblissHoekstra emerges as favorite for top intelligence post Republicans say Democrats holding up disaster relief as 'Sandy payback' Ex-House Intel chair: Intel panel is wrong forum to investigate Trump's finances MORE (R-Ga.), a co-sponsor of McCain's bill, said no agreement was reached at the meeting, but noted it was positive that members were discussing the issue.

"We just had all the three different groups together sitting around the table. That's an indication that everybody understands the importance of the issue," he said. "We have major differences, and we're just talking through them to see if we can resolve at least some of them, but we're nowhere near a resolution."

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) struck a similar tone and was vague about whether the group would actually find a middle of the road solution they could move forward on.

"There are a lot of areas to find common ground, that won't be the problem. The problem is on the one or two or three difficult issues, can we come to cloture on those?" he said. "I don't know if that's going to happen, but I think it could."

Kyl said he met with the Chamber on Wednesday to discuss concerns with the bill. He had worked with Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies Democrats give cold shoulder to Warren wealth tax MORE (D-R.I.) to draft a compromise framework on the critical infrastructure provisions, which Lieberman adopted into a revised version of his bill.

Sen. Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiLobbying World Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates Raskin embraces role as constitutional scholar MORE (D-Md.) said there was "such good will" in the room despite the varying views members have on the legislation.

"You had everybody who's been working on this in the same room at the same time, talking with each other, working through issues and trying to come up with good policy and pragmatic solutions," Mikulski said.

The question of whether security standards for critical infrastructure operators should be "mandatory versus voluntary" was discussed at the meeting, she said. Mikulski had been involved the Whitehouse-Kyl discussions.

All the co-sponsors of Lieberman's bill -- Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCollins downplays 2020 threat: 'Confident' re-election would go well if she runs Cook Political Report moves Susan Collins Senate race to 'toss up' The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy MORE (R-Maine), Jay RockefellerJohn (Jay) Davison RockefellerBottom Line World Health Day: It's time to fight preventable disease Lobbying World MORE (D-W.Va.), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperAmerica is in desperate need of infrastructure investment: Senate highway bill a step in the right direction FARA should apply to Confucius Institutes The 23 Republicans who opposed Trump-backed budget deal MORE (D-Del.) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinTrump administration urges Congress to reauthorize NSA surveillance program The Hill's Morning Report - More talk on guns; many questions on Epstein's death Juan Williams: We need a backlash against Big Tech MORE (D-Calif.) -- attended the meeting, according to a Senate aide. Sens. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsThe United States broken patent system is getting worse Biden faces scrutiny for his age from other Democrats Democrats press FBI for details on Kavanaugh investigation MORE (D-Del.), who participated in the Whitehouse-Kyl talks, also participated.

The co-sponsors of McCain's bill, the Secure It Act, that attended the meeting included Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray Coats10 declassified Russia collusion revelations that could rock Washington this fall 11 Essential reads you missed this week Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move MORE (R-Ind.).

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidHarry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' 2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care Reid says he wishes Franken would run for Senate again MORE (D-Nev.) is expected to move Lieberman's cybersecurity bill forward as soon as Wednesday.