WASHINGTON — The Senate approved a key cybersecurity bill Tuesday after several days of debate on the chamber floor — and several years of lobbying by business groups, including bankers.
The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act would make it easier for the private sector and government to share cyber threat information. The bipartisan legislation failed to advance on the floor several times earlier this year before this latest effort, which kicked off last week. The legislation is a victory for the banking industry and other firms, in part because it provides certain liability protections for companies passing along data about potential attacks. The bill passed the Senate 74-21.
The House passed similar information sharing legislation this past spring. The two chambers are now expected to try and hash out a number of sticky details in a bicameral conference, including which agency should oversee the information sharing process. Observers have suggested it's unlikely the House will take up the Senate legislation as it stands.
Industry groups praised the Senate's passage of the bill, but said they are hoping to make changes when the legislation goes to conference.
"Importantly, while we are supportive of the process moving forward to a conference, SIFMA does have serious concerns with language adopted during the Senate process which would give an outsize and inappropriate role to the Department of Homeland Security in making information sharing determinations and could lead to burdensome regulation that would undermine the voluntary nature of CISA, which is at its core," said Ken Bentsen, the president and CEO of SIFMA. "We strongly urge the Conference Committee to strike this provision."