Although CISA passed out of the Senate Intelligence Committee nearly unanimously in March, senators from both parties are pushing to add amendments to the bill. Given the tight schedule before recess, that could be a major roadblock to getting the legislation finished without a deal facilitated by leadership.
Sen. Chuck Schumer on Thursday indicated such a deal is in the works. "We will offer Republicans an agreement to a certain number of amendments all relevant to the bill, [Democratic amendments], certain number of Republican [amendments], and move forward on the bill," the New York Democrat told reporters.
The demand for modifications to the bill's language is large and bipartisan, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat, said Thursday.
"Despite the fact that the vote in the committee will be 14 to 1 — I get that — there's going to be tremendous interest in the United States Senate in amendments that will change this legislation," Wyden, who cast the dissenting vote in the intelligence committee in March, said in a call with reporters. "A number of Democrats and a number of Republicans have expressed to me an interest in amending the bill."
Sen. Mark Warner, a Democratic member of the intelligence committee, intends to offer four amendments, an aide to the senator from Virginia said Thursday.
And a bill introduced last week by the top members of the Senate Homeland Security Committee — Chairman Ron Johnson and ranking member Thomas Carper — will also be offered as an amendment to CISA, a Senate aide said Thursday. The measure, which passed out of the committee unanimously Wednesday, would require agencies to hone their cybersecurity practices and accelerate the deployment of Einstein, a cyberdefense system developed by the Homeland Security Department.
Leahy called Thursday for McConnell to allow time for senators to offer amendments. "If the Majority Leader is serious about improving our nation's cybersecurity, he will listen to Senator [Dianne] Feinstein and others who have called for a meaningful amendment process," Leahy said in a statement, referring to the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a CISA cosponsor.
For her part, Feinstein told The Hill she had "mixed feelings" about her bill's last-minute introduction. "I'd obviously like to get it done. We're working with people," she said. "Whether it can get done in a short floor time or not, I don't know."
Even if CISA makes it through the Senate this week, it will need to be aligned with two cyberinformation-sharing proposals in the House. The bills, which originated in different committees, differ from each other on certain points, but they are even more distinct from the bill being considered in the Senate.
Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and author of one of the House bills, has said the current Senate bill would not survive in the House because of worries about surveillance.