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 FeinsteinSchiff should consider using RICO framework to organize impeachment We need answers to questions mainstream media won't ask about Democrats The Hill's Morning Report - Trump grapples with Syria fallout MORE (D-Calif.), three leading co-sponsors of the Cybersecurity Act, along with Sens. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsMeet the dog and 'sea turtle' who launched campaigns for office Senators demand briefing on Trump's decision to withdraw from Syria 2020 Democrats push for gun control action at forum 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 CollinsOvernight Energy: Perry to step down as Energy secretary | Future of big-game hunting council up in the air | Dems lose vote against EPA power plant rule Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes 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.