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 McCainJeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay Budowsky: Would John McCain back impeachment? 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 ChamblissThe Hill's Morning Report - Gillibrand drops out as number of debaters shrinks Hoekstra emerges as favorite for top intelligence post Republicans say Democrats holding up disaster relief as 'Sandy payback' 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 WhitehouseDemocrats rip Barr over IG statement: 'Mouthpiece' for Trump Trump brings pardoned soldiers on stage at Florida fundraiser: report Overnight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill 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 CollinsIs a trap being set for Trump in the Senate trial? The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial 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 CarperLobbying World Overnight Energy: BLM staff face choice of relocation or resignation as agency moves | Trump says he's 'very much into climate' | EPA rule would expand limits on scientific studies Democrats give Warren's 'Medicare for All' plan the cold shoulder MORE (D-Del.) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSanders revokes congressional endorsement for Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur Sanders endorses Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur for Katie Hill's former House seat Houston police chief stands by criticism of McConnell, Cruz, Cornyn: 'This is not political' MORE (D-Calif.) -- attended the meeting, according to a Senate aide. Sens. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSunday Talk Shows: Lawmakers look ahead to House vote on articles of impeachment, Senate trial Senators zero in on shadowy court at center of IG report DOJ inspector general refutes Trump claim that Obama tapped his wires 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 CoatsFormer US intel official says Trump would often push back in briefings Hillicon Valley: Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract in court | State antitrust investigation into Google expands | Intel agencies no longer collecting location data without warrant Intelligence agencies have stopped collecting cellphone data without warrants: letter MORE (R-Ind.).

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidNevada journalist: Harry Reid will play 'significant role' in Democratic primary The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - A crucial week on impeachment The Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached MORE (D-Nev.) is expected to move Lieberman's cybersecurity bill forward as soon as Wednesday.