Dem Rep. Markey presses Obama to address cybersecurity via executive action

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Markey accused Republicans of putting business interests ahead of the country’s defense in blocking the Cybersecurity Act in the Senate last week.

“Congressional Republicans once again have shown their legislative agenda to be one big I.O.U. – Insurers, Oil companies, and Utilities. … The moneyed minions behind Citizens United have driven Republicans to prioritize the interests of the wealthiest corporations over America’s national security,” he said.

Markey’s letter comes after White House chief counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said Tuesday that the president was considering exercising executive authority to implement some cybersecurity measures in a Senate bill that failed passage.

Senate Republicans had blocked the Cybersecurity Act, sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report — Uproar after Trump's defense of foreign dirt on candidates The Hill's Morning Report — Uproar after Trump's defense of foreign dirt on candidates Democratic challenger to Susan Collins announces Senate bid MORE (R-Maine), which would have encouraged private companies and the government to share information about cyber threats, and require minimum cybersecurity standards for critical infrastructure. The bill had the backing of the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidTrump weighs in on UFOs in Stephanopoulos interview Trump weighs in on UFOs in Stephanopoulos interview Impeachment will reelect Trump MORE (D-Nev.).

The legislation’s opponents, led by Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain#JohnMcCainDay trends on Trump's 73rd birthday #JohnMcCainDay trends on Trump's 73rd birthday New poll finds little GOP support for spending cuts to specific federal programs MORE (R-Ariz.), argued that the bill would burden businesses.

Civil-liberties groups and government transparency advocates also criticized the proposal, saying that it handed too much power to intelligence agencies and the Pentagon.

The White House has demonstrated its willingness to use executive action in the past. When Congress did not pass the DREAM Act, a law that would have granted some children of illegal aliens legal status, the administration in June announced that it would no longer deport illegal immigrants young enough to have qualified to stay in the country under the bill.