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Public Statements

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. TIERNEY. Mr. Speaker, tonight I rise to offer the final amendment. I want to be clear that this is a final amendment to the bill. It will not kill the bill, nor will it send it back to committee. If it's adopted, the bill will be voted on immediately as amended.

Let me start by saying that it's unfortunate that the House Republicans unilaterally reneged upon the agreed upon discretionary caps that were established by the Budget Control Act. Their doing so--just to finance more tax cuts for people that were already tremendously well-off--has resulted in the Appropriations Committee having to absorb $19 billion in reductions below the Budget Control Act. So I recognize, Mr. Speaker, that subcommittee Chairman Aderholt and Ranking Member Price did the very best that they could with this bill given the subcommittee's allocation. Nevertheless, I offer this final amendment that focuses on two important areas: combating the increasing cyberthreat facing this country and protecting our urban areas from terrorist threats.

This week's Washington Post pointed out that in recent years, there have been numerous revelations about how the unknown vulnerabilities of our networks and cyberinformation were used to break into systems that were assumed to be secure.

One came in 2009 targeting Google, Northrop Grumman, Dow Chemical and hundreds of other firms when hackers from China penetrated the targeted computer systems. Over several months, the hijackers siphoned off oceans of data, including the source code that runs Google systems. According to the same article, another attack last year took aim at cybersecurity giant RSA, which protects most of the Fortune 500 companies.

But it's not only a problem for the largest companies. In fact, according to Reuters, 40 percent of all the targeted Internet attacks are directed toward more vulnerable companies with fewer than 500 employees.

Mr. Speaker, I expect the chairman will defend this bill's investments in cybersecurity and, again, I appreciate that. He did what he could do, and we should be doing more. While we spend more than China, Russia, and the next eight countries combined ensuring that our military superiority is intact, we have not taken that same sense of purpose to cybersecurity.

My amendment does precisely that, adding $17 million in new funding to the National Protection and Programs Directorate for additional cybersecurity personnel, including training and education opportunities to grow the future cybersecurity workforce. With repeated and increasingly dangerous threats to our Federal and private cybernetworks, it's critical that we have staff with the utmost up-to-date training and skills to address these threats.

The final amendment also increases the bill's investment in Urban Area Security Initiative grants from $150 million to $490.3 million. This will not take money away from anybody; it just reallocates the distribution. This is the amount Secretary Napolitano devoted to the Urban Area Security grants in 2012. As my colleagues know, these grants are intend to protect the highest risk and highest density urban areas from terrorist threats. These grants have been substantially reduced under the Republican majority, and these reductions have put our Nation's most populated areas at greater risk.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield to my colleague from New York.

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Mr. TIERNEY. Reclaiming my time, Mr. Speaker, this final amendment improves the underlying bill and hopefully will garner bipartisan support. Let's take these additional threats to combat cyberthreats, but step up our efforts to protect our urban areas from terrorist threats. Please support the motion to recommit.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.

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