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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 3523, Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act; Providing for Consideration of Motions to Suspend the Rules; Providing for Consideration of H.R. 4628, Interest Rate Reduction Act; and for Other Purposes

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this rule and the underlying bill.

At the beginning of this Congress, expectations were high for meaningful progress on cybersecurity. Speaker Boehner even established a task force within the Republican Conference to come up with recommendations.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Cyber Week. Key Republican task force recommendations were abandoned. They abandoned measures to approve data breach notification laws, formalize DHS' cyber-role and, more importantly, enhance the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure networks.

These omissions from Cybersecurity Week were no small matter. We all have critical infrastructure in our districts, be it a pipeline, a power plant, an airport or even a dam.

Top national security officials, both in the Obama and Bush administrations, have briefed us on the significant cyberattacks to critical infrastructure. They have told us that voluntary information-sharing is simply not enough.

In fact, the CSIS Cyber Commission, the Republican task force, and NSA Director Alexander have all said that Congress must do something to proactively address critical infrastructure vulnerabilities.

But House leadership ignores these voices. Instead, it has decided that information-sharing alone is enough to fix the problem.

Mr. Speaker, this boils down to a simple question: Who do you trust?

Turning to H.R. 3523: What does it do?

In an effort to improve our cybersecurity, this bill would erode the privacy protections of every single American using the Internet. Put simply, this bill would allow any certified business to share with any government agency, who can then use this information for any national security purpose and grant that business immunity from virtually any liability. None of these amendments authored by the Intelligence Committee would change that truth.

Further, the Rules Committee decided to block consideration of amendments submitted by me and other like-minded colleagues to address the fundamental privacy flaws in this bill.

If my colleagues want to do something on cybersecurity, then vote ``yes'' on any or all of the suspension bills to be considered today; but do not vote for H.R. 3523. It would set back the privacy rights that our constituents have enjoyed since the beginning of the Internet.

Again, I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the rule and the underlying bill.


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