(Newsroom America) -- President Obama is considering executive action to enact provisions of cybersecurity legislation that failed to pass in Congress, according to a White House aide.
"If the Congress is not going to act on something like this, then the president wants to make sure that we’re doing everything possible," John Brennan, Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, told attendees at a Council on Foreign Relations event in Washington on Wednesday.
Republicans in the Senate blocked the measure, which ostensibly would have called for voluntary cybersecurity standards for infrastructure considered vital to the nation's security interests, such as power grids and water treatment facilities.
Republicans said the measure would actually establish a back door for Washington to impose new regulations on those industries, which they said would create new costs that would be passed onto consumers.
Brennan said opponents were misrepresenting the legislation, adding that it would have only called for minimum standards, Bloomberg News reported.
"Believe me, the critical infrastructure of this country is under threat," Brennan said. He added that foreign countries and non-state hackers "are developing advanced technologies, and we have to improve our defenses on this issue.'
Some experts have said the president could enact key provisions of the legislation through executive order.
"An executive order would be counterproductive and would cut short the proper legislative process, which needs to continue," Matthew Eggers, senior director of national security at the Chamber of Commerce - which opposes the legislation - told Bloomberg News.
"An executive order makes clear the administration’s intent to put a mandatory program into place to regulate businesses," he added.
Republicans in the House passed a bill in April that encourages businesses and government to share cybersecurity information, but it fell short of setting new standards.
White House spokesman Jay Carney last week said that bill was "deeply flawed," and said it would threaten the privacy of consumers and did nothing to protect the nation's infrastructure.
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