With Congress preparing to return from recess on Tuesday, much of the public and private sectors agree, there is little chance for cybersecurity legislation to pass in the lame duck. Yet Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is still planning to give it a try.

“I will bring cybersecurity legislation back to the Senate floor when Congress returns in November,” Reid vowed in a pre-election statement. “My colleagues who profess to understand the urgency of the threat will have one more chance to back their words with action.”

According to reports, Reid intends to bring the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 back to the Senate floor by the end of the week. Though many speculate that the bill, which failed to pass the Senate in August, will again face obstacles, barring it from making its way to President Obama’s desk.

“There are things that could be done to get some kind of bill, but no one has decided to do them,” James Lewis, director of the Technology and Public Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told ClearanceJobs. “There’s little chance that any cyber bill will pass in the lame duck unless each side compromises, and that is unlikely.” 

While suggesting the Senate may stage a “show vote,” Lewis, who has previously provided congressional testimony on the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, indicated that the House and Senate are too “far apart” to pass cybersecurity legislation before the year’s end.

Instead Lewis believes Obama’s impending executive order is more likely. “I think they may move on it by the end of the year, especially if Congress stalls again” he advised.

However, Thomas Stamulis, a regional director for enterprise security firm Terremark, a company owned by Verizon, which last year lent its support to the House Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), said Obama’s executive order “is months from being ready.”

The president “would have enacted it if he had lost [the election], but will now regroup and attempt something larger in scope and reach,” advised Stamulis.


Michelle Kincaid is a DC-based public affairs professional specializing in technology policy. She is also creator of the blog CybersecurityNews.org.  Follow her on Twitter at @OnCybersecurity.

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Michelle Kincaid is a DC-based public affairs professional specializing in technology policy. She is creator of the blog CybersecurityNews.org.