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 CollinsProgressive Jewish group endorses Biden Poll: Gideon leads Collins by 8 points in Maine Senate race The Hill's 12:30 Report - Speculation over Biden's running mate announcement 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 ReidKamala Harris makes history — as a Westerner McConnell goes hands-off on coronavirus relief bill Kamala Harris to young Black women at conference: 'I want you to be ambitious' MORE (D-Nev.).

The legislation’s opponents, led by Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump rips Bill Maher as 'exhausted, gaunt and weak' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The choice: Biden-Harris vs. Trump-Pence Sarah Palin offers Harris advice: 'Don't get muzzled' 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.