Senate Rejects Measure to Strengthen Cybersecurity

June 12, 2015

JENNIFER STEINHAUER

On the heels of a vast breach of the personal information of federal employees, the Senate failed Thursday to advance a cybersecurity measure, the third time in three years that a bipartisan effort to tackle the problem has fallen victim to procedural actions.

The measure, which failed, 40 to 56, was similar to an expansive bill passed by the House two months ago that would push companies to share access to their computer networks and records with federal investigators.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, attached the cybersecurity measure to a larger defense policy bill, hoping its complexity and broad bipartisan support would counter President Obama’s threat to veto that measure. Democrats objected to the move and voted against the cybersecurity measure as a result.

Mr. McConnell, who said that Republicans had appended the cybersecurity measure to the defense bill out of a sense of urgency, excoriated Democrats from the Senate floor. “The need for this smart, bipartisan, transparent measure couldn’t be clearer,” he said, adding, “That hasn’t stopped some Democrat leaders from thinking they should try to score political points by taking down a bipartisan measure to combat cyberattacks.”

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