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Republican Filibuster Blocks Cybersecurity Bill

by Kymberly Bays, published

A Senate cybersecurity bill failed to pass today as the result of a Republican filibuster, falling just eight votes shy of the 60 needed to advance to a final vote.

As IVN has reported, the cybersecurity bill is a major priority for the Obama administration, prompting a recent Wall Street Journal editorial by the President himself.

"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," the White House said in a statement, reacting to the blocked legislation.

The New York Times reports the current iteration of the bill has been "significantly watered down" in an attempt to win the support of Senate Republicans, including one of the bills staunchest opponents, Sen. John McCain.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-MI) were the architects of the legislation. The Independent Sen. Lieberman is Chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, with Sen. Collins also a ranking member.

The Senate's only other Independent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, is also a big supporter of the bill.

"Our nation's national security and economy face unprecedented threats from cyber-attacks, and it is important that we defend ourselves as best we can while, at the same time, protecting the privacy and civil liberties of the American people," Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a statement. "I worked hard with a number of colleagues to make sure that language in the bill would protect the constitutional rights of the American people,"

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