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House Passes Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Critical Infrastructure from Cyber Attack

Press Release

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed H.R. 3696, H.R. 2952, and H.R. 3107 - bipartisan legislation to strengthen efforts to combat cyber attacks on our critical infrastructure through the distribution of cyber threat information, the development and procurement of new technologies and support for DHS's cybersecurity workforce.

Specifically, the House passed H.R. 3696, the National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, introduced by Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Subcommittee Chairman Patrick Meehan (R-PA) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Yvette Clarke (D-NY). In addition, the House passed H.R. 2952, the Critical Infrastructure Research and Development Advancement Act, introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Meehan and H.R. 3107, the Homeland Security Cybersecurity Boots-on-the-Ground Act, introduced by Subcommittee Ranking Member Clarke.

Chairman McCaul said: "Last week, the former co-chair of the 9/11 Commission testified that we are in a pre-9/11 mindset when it comes to cybersecurity. A successful cyber attack on our nation's water systems, oil and gas pipelines, power grids and mass transit systems on the scale of the recent retail breaches could cause crippling economic damage and could even cost lives. The reality is the threat is outpacing our readiness to combat it. We must take action and the National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act is an important step toward addressing the cyber threat. This bipartisan bill establishes a true partnership between DHS and the private sector to ensure the distribution of real-time cyber threat information in order to secure our nation in cyberspace without burdensome mandates or regulations."

Subcommittee Chairman Meehan said: "Subcommittee Chairman Patrick Meehan (R-PA): "The cyber risk is among the most serious our nation faces today. Terrorist groups like Hamas, nation-states like Iran, China and Russia and criminal gangs across the world are constantly attempting to breach our systems. But existing laws that have been on the books for years are not designed to cope with the threat. The National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act -- the result of consultations with hundreds of stakeholders across government, the private sector and privacy advocates -- will enable government and the private sector work together to prevent and defeat cyber attacks. And it does it while being, in the words of the ACLU, both "pro-privacy and pro-security'. I'm grateful to Chairman McCaul for his leadership on this issue."

"The Critical Infrastructure Research and Development Advancement Act is a bipartisan accomplishment. It's the product of collaboration between Republicans and Democrats, the Department of Homeland Security and other stakeholders. We identified a problem -- barriers that prevented the Department from acquiring the best equipment available to protect the homeland -- and we worked together to solve it. This bill will protect Americans by strengthening DHS' ability to develop the latest technology to stay one step ahead of terrorists who wish to do us harm. I thank the Ranking Member of our subcommittee, Rep. Clarke, for cosponsoring this legislation and I'm grateful to all my colleagues from both sides of the aisle for their support today.

Ranking Member Thompson said: "I am pleased that the House is getting the opportunity to consider these three important bipartisan cybersecurity measures. With their passage, the House will have taken meaningful action to move the ball forward on improving our Nation's cybersecurity posture. I am particularly pleased that one of the bills we will be considering is legislation authored by Representative Clarke, the "Homeland Security Cybersecurity Boots-on-the-Ground Act'. DHS' success depends on how well it recruits, hires, and trains its cyber workforce. That said, the jurisdictional jockeying that kept the McCaul-Thompson cyber bill in limbo for many months is troubling and demands a rethinking of how legislative jurisdiction is divided within the House."

Subcommittee Ranking Member Clarke said: "I want to commend my colleagues for their work on these cybersecurity bills that will improve information sharing about cybersecurity incidents, increase the Department of Homeland Security's capabilities to fulfill its responsibilities as the primary civilian agency for cybersecurity, and guarantee that the agency has access to the best trained cybersecurity experts to complete its mission. I am pleased that my legislation is being considered today, and congratulate Chairman McCaul, Ranking Member Thompson, and Congressman Meehan on their significant accomplishments as well."


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