Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson leads the committee with broad oversight over the nation’s most important cybersecurity issues, including protecting consumers and U.S. elections from hackers. But he’s also a major reason little legislation on these topics ever passes, according to lobbyists, cybersecurity policy experts, lawmakers and congressional aides from both parties who spoke with POLITICO. Johnson or members of his staff have derailed many of the most significant cybersecurity-related bills in the past four years, including legislation to secure elections, study whether the growing use of encrypted apps hampers law enforcement, and hold companies accountable for the proliferation of insecure connected devices, people who track the legislation told POLITICO.
His panel “is the place where legislation goes to die on cybersecurity,” said Mieke Eoyang, a former Hill aide and vice president for the national security program at Third Way, a centrist think tank in Washington that works on national technology policy issues.
While no official accounting exists of cybersecurity bills in Congress, Third Way counted 15 in the last Congress that passed the House and didn’t advance through the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which Johnson has led since 2015.