A security related bill that could prevent large-scale cyber attacks failed to get support from the Senate members on Thursday. The bill was considered essential for the security of nation’s infrastructure that included water supplies and the electrical grid.
Despite consent and strong endorsement from top military and national security officials, the bill was unable to get two-third majority in the office, which was necessary to take it to the next passage. Failure to pass the bill has raised many questions.
“This is one of those days when I fear for our country and I’m not proud of the United States Senate,” Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), one of the bill’s chief sponsors, said ahead of the vote. “We’ve got a crisis, and it’s one that we all acknowledge. It’s not just that there’s a theoretical or speculative threat of cyber attack against our country — it’s real.”
On the contrary, the White House and Democratic and Republican sponsors have decided to make security standards stricter. But at the same time they have decided to keep these security standards voluntarily and not mandatory for companies that control nation’s infrastructure.
However, most of the people in the business sector are not happy even with the voluntary standards, because of which the proposal will have to be send back to House bill where necessary changes will be made.
White House press secretary Jay Carney on the same said, “Despite the president’s repeated calls for Congress to act on this legislation, and despite pleas from numerous senior national security officials from this administration and the Bush administration, the politics of obstructionism, driven by special interest groups seeking to avoid accountability, prevented Congress from passing legislation to better protect our nation from potentially catastrophic cyber-attacks.”
One of the major problems that the government is facing to pass this bill is that the nation’s most of the systems that are at risk are taken care by private sector. Therefore, the legislators will have to look for a balanced solution that will work for both the private sector and the one that encourages companies to tighten their security that too voluntarily.
“We worked hard for more than three years and now, because a handful of Republican senators are afraid of crossing the Chamber of Commerce’s beltway lobbyists, we may end up with nothing on this urgent issue,” Rockfeller said Thursday.
Nevertheless, republican critics are of the view that no kind of security measure is required as that will only put a financial strain on private companies. They also said that government intervention is not required on the view.
Later it was clarified that members of parliament has also voted against the bill because they were not allowed to make necessary changes in the bill.
“We all recognize the problem. That’s not the issue here,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday morning. “This is a big, complicated, far-reaching bill that involves several committees of jurisdiction,” he added. “Democrat leaders haven’t allowed any of these committees to improve the bill or even vote on it.”
Now that congress is all set to leave for a month long break no one was sure when the issue will be ready for a vote again.