Mikulski joins chorus calling for cybersecurity executive order


She said she hopes the president uses the Senate bill, S. 3414, as a model for executive action.

Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Jay RockefellerJohn (Jay) Davison RockefellerBottom Line World Health Day: It's time to fight preventable disease Lobbying World MORE (D-W.Va.) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinBiden's gun control push poses danger for midterms Caitlyn Jenner exploring bid for California governor: report WokeWorld comes for 'oppressor' Obama: Activists rip school being named after 'deporter in chief' MORE (D-Calif.), three leading co-sponsors of the Cybersecurity Act, along with Sens. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsModerates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats Schumer lays groundwork for future filibuster reform Pavlich: Biden wants 'infrastructure' ­– Republicans should negotiate MORE (D-Del.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), have all called on the White House to issue an executive order. But Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsModerates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate confirms Mallory to lead White House environment council | US emissions dropped 1.7 percent in 2019 | Interior further delays Trump rule that would make drillers pay less to feds Anti-Asian hate crimes bill overcomes first Senate hurdle MORE (R-Maine), another key co-sponsor, has said the focus should remain on passing legislation — not executive action.

The Cybersecurity Act would have set voluntary security standards for operators of critical infrastructure, such as gas pipelines and banks. The bill would have also authorized companies and the government to share information about cyber threats.

But Republicans worried the security standards would have burdened businesses and done little to improve security.

Administration officials have confirmed they are working on an executive order that would encourage companies to meet cybersecurity standards. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said earlier this month in a congressional hearing that the order is "close to completion." 

Legal experts say the president lacks the authority to tear down the legal barriers that prevent companies and the government from sharing information with each other. 

Mikulski said she remains committed to passing legislation to authorize the information-sharing provisions as "soon as possible." 

"I believe that information-sharing is critical to better protection of our nation’s intellectual property, secrets and data, which are being pilfered by foreign actors and cybercriminals as we speak," she wrote.

Both parties support information-sharing, but Democrats and the White House argue that a House GOP information-sharing bill lacks adequate privacy protections for people's personal information.