Today the House passed Congressman Gary Palmer's (R-AL) bill H.R. 4361 the Government Reform and Improvement Act with a vote of 240-181.
"The House took an important step towards securing Americans' valuable information and data," said Palmer. "This bill would empower the heads of federal agencies to protect critical data systems from cyberattacks. Securing hundreds of millions of Americans' data and millions of federal employees' data is more important than the convenience of a few federal employees using government computer systems for personal use. When a federal agency acts in the interest of securing Americans' data, the head of the agency should be confident the action will not be challenged by unions or outside groups because the agency did not engage in bargaining over cybersecurity. The security of Americans' data is non-negotiable and should not be eligible for bargaining."
Under the Government Reform and Improvement Act, the head of each Agency is responsible for securing its information systems from unauthorized access and other threats posed to our nation's security and economic vitality. Before this bill, the Federal Labor Relations Authority mistakenly determined federal employee unions can block agencies from taking action to implement cybersecurity protections against direct risks until the agencies first negotiate on them.
"I appreciate the opportunity to lead this package of bills," said Palmer. "This is sensible and responsible legislation to increase federal agencies' ability to protect their data systems and thus increase protections offered to every federal employees. We were able to accomplish the following: safeguard federal information systems, prohibit access to pornographic websites from government computers, increase accountability for federal employees and force the IRS to comply with the same record keeping requirements that they impose on the American taxpayers. This bill would end the practice of subjecting Americans to a barrage of regulations imposed by an outgoing administration that can no longer be held accountable."