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Cybersecurity: President Threatens to Override Congress

Posted By Steven Bucci On August 10, 2012 @ 11:00 am In Featured | Comments Disabled


The signs are growing [2] that President Obama may once again trot out his new favorite tool—the executive order—to override the will of the people as represented by Congress.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D–NV) failed to get the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 [3] passed. Even with the last-minute horse trading that occurred just before the vote, sponsors Joseph Lieberman (I–CT) and Susan Collins (R–ME) could not push it through. Now the President seems poised to tell Members of Congress again that his judgment is better than theirs.

An executive order would not take into account other opinions [4] on cybersecurity, such as those of the House of Representatives [5] and other Senate proposals [6], and could ignore the series of compromises that Lieberman and Collins tried to work out. Instead, it would likely be back to the full-bore mandatory regulation regime [7] that was in the Cybersecurity Act months ago.

Most opponents of the Cybersecurity Act were concerned about the bill’s regulatory basis. Government regulation is too slow, too static, and too focused on a lowest common denominator among involved parties. Forcing American entities to meet static regulations [8] that will never be able to keep pace with new innovations would allow hackers—whether individual criminals, organizations, or foreign governments—to move around, over, and through our inadequate defenses.

President Obama really believes that the federal government not only can develop the appropriate regulations to provide cybersecurity but should fully oversee U.S. businesses and infrastructure in that effort. As Heritage Foundation research has shown, the government has plenty of failures [9] in protecting its own networks. Why does anyone think the government would somehow do a better job regulating the private sector?

Mr. President, leave this one with the Congress. In rejecting slow, static regulations, they got it right.

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URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2012/08/10/cybersecurity-president-threatens-to-override-congress/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://blog.heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/cybersecurity-120706.jpg

[2] signs are growing: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-08/obama-considering-executive-branch-action-on-cybersecurity-plan.html

[3] Cybersecurity Act of 2012: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/07/cybersecurity-act-of-2012-revised-cyber-bill-still-has-problems

[4] other opinions: http://www.heritage.org/research/factsheets/2012/07/updated-comparison-of-cybersecurity-legislation

[5] those of the House of Representatives: http://www.heritage.org/events/2012/03/cyber-threat

[6] Senate proposals: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/07/securing-us-computer-networks-with-secure-it

[7] full-bore mandatory regulation regime: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/03/senate-cybersecurity-bill-not-ready-for-prime-time

[8] static regulations: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/06/cybersecurity-and-red-tape-more-regulations-not-the-answer

[9] plenty of failures: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/05/the-alarming-trend-of-cybersecurity-breaches-and-failures-in-the-us-government

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