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Whitehouse-Kyl Cybersecurity Compromise Builds Steam

This just in from The Hill:

Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) urged the Senate to find a compromise solution for cybersecurity legislation on Monday.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Snowe and Warner said there is "tremendous potential" for the Senate to find a solution for securing critical infrastructure systems that "incentivizes private sector participation and collaboration."

The letter seems to be a nod towards a draft compromise proposal from Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). 

 

The cybersecurity draft from Whitehouse and Kyl would pressure, but not force, critical infrastructure companies to better protect their systems.

The proposal is meant to win over Republicans who fear that the cybersecurity bill from Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) focuses too much on setting new regulations. 

The Lieberman-Collins bill, which is backed by the White House and Reid, would require critical infrastructure systems to meet mandatory security standards. Supporters of the bill say the standards are necessary to protect vital systems, but many Republican, led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), argue the standards would impose unnecessary burdens on businesses. 

The endorsement from Snowe and Warner for an approach that incentivizes critical infrastructure standards seems to add momentum to the Kyl-Whitehouse compromise efforts.

The senators urged Reid and McConnell to bring up the legislation in July and to allow amendments on the floor from any senator.

"We intend to lend our full support to such a fair and transparent approach, and we believe that only a bipartisan agreement on the process for consideration of cyber security legislation will achieve our shared goal of preparing our nation to defend against this emerging national security threat," Snowe and Warner wrote.

 

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