The Joe Lieberman-backed “cyber-security” bill failed in the Senate on Thursday, lacking the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.
The bill failed by a vote of 52 to 46, despite the Obama administration’s heavy arguments that the legislation was needed to defend the Internet against attacks, reports the Washington Post. The failure of the Cybersecurity Act, introduced by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), likely stalls any efforts toward cyber-security legislation for the rest of this year, notes The Hill. Any other attempts will likely be reserved for 2013.
“This is one of those days when I fear for our country and I’m not proud of the United States Senate,” Lieberman said before 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 cyberattack against our country — it’s real.”
Of course, there was the usual amount of politicking and posturing on the measure. Tea Party pals FreedomWorks called for the bill to be struck down, calling the measure “deeply flawed,” and saying that it “would stifle innovation on the Internet.” Democratic figures were also poised to defend the bill. “We know how important this legislation is, we know it’s more important than getting a pat on the back from Chamber of Commerce,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday before the vote. “That’s why Republicans are running like a pack of scared cats.”
Some have questioned why such legislation is needed at all. Jerry Brito of the libertarian Mercatus Center told Ars Technica in April that private parties are already capable of securing their own networks, and have incentive to do so. Furthermore, he said that the government and the private sector already share information that helps them respond to security threats.