U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, issued the following statement in response to President Barack Obama’s plan to re-engage with Congress on identity theft and cybersecurity this week, beginning with a speech today on consumer privacy protection at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and continuing with a Tuesday meeting with congressional leaders and a visit to the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity center:
“I welcome President Obama back to the discussion on cybersecurity in the wake of the highly publicized cyber-attack on Sony Pictures. This level of personal engagement on legislation by the President certainly would have helped advance the bipartisan cybersecurity information sharing bill authored by then Democratic Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein and Republican Vice-Chairman Saxby Chambliss last year. After approval of the bill at the committee level, Senate Democratic Leadership refused to give it a vote on the Senate floor. President Obama’s engaged support for similar legislation this Congress would help address cyber threats, improve privacy protections, and would also begin to address concerns over the President’s go-it-alone approach of unilateral executive actions on cyber and other issues.
“As chairman of the Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the FTC and cybersecurity issues related to the private sector, I stand ready to work with the President. I look forward to our meeting at the White House tomorrow, and hope that the President’s actions on this critical subject match his rhetoric about working with Congress.”Last Congress, Sen. Thune co-authored the “Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014” with then Commerce Committee chairman, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.). This recently enacted legislation focused on ensuring better coordination of cyber research and development across the federal government and formalized the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) role in collaborating with the private sector to develop industry-led voluntary cybersecurity standards and best practices for critical infrastructure. Thune has previously stated that cybersecurity will again be a priority for the Commerce Committee this Congress. On Tuesday, Thune will join other congressional leaders for a meeting with President Obama at the White House where the creation of a uniform national standard for notifying affected consumers after a data breach and updates that facilitate the private sector’s ability to share cyber threat information with the government are expected to be among the topics discussed.