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Cybersecurity bill to give president new emergency powers

Cybersecurity bill to give president new emergency powers

The president would have the power to safeguard essential federal and private Web resources under draft Senate cybersecurity legislation.

According to an aide familiar with the proposal, the bill includes a mandate for federal agencies to prepare emergency response plans in the event of a massive, nationwide cyberattack.

The president would then have the ability to initiate those network contingency plans to ensure key federal or private services did not go offline during a cyberattack of unprecedented scope, the aide said.

Ultimately, the legislation is chiefly the brainchild of Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, respectively. Both lawmakers have long clamored for a federal cybersecurity bill, charging that current measures — including the legislation passed by the House last year — are too piecemeal to protect the country’s Web infrastructure.

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