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Public Statements

Cyber Security

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. COATS. Madam President, yesterday Senator Landrieu, chairman of the Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee, and I entered a colloquy into the Record, and I would like to explain very briefly what it was we were attempting to do.

This is essentially to clarify a provision regarding cyber security that is incorporated in the continuing resolution, which we will be taking up here shortly. I understand there has been confusion over section 137 as to whether the language that is now incorporated in the CR expands DHS authority or allows implementation of a potential Executive order pertaining to cyber security. The answer to that question is no, absolutely not. The provision is limited to funding improvements in the Federal Network Security Program, which provides security systems that monitor cyber attacks on Federal Government computer networks. It helps enhance the protection for those existing networks that are in place.

It is important that both the House and Senate homeland security appropriations bills included this additional funding, and it is considered so critical, it was added to the continuing resolution so that this implementation can continue without interruption. It does so because these networks are constantly under attack by individuals and groups and others who could cause real problems and real harm to our country.

So let me be very clear on the language that has been agreed on in a bipartisan basis and what the colloquy said. This provision does not intrude upon the authorizers' jurisdiction. This provision does not have anything to do with the regulation of private sector infrastructure. DHS has confirmed that in writing. And this provision does not enable a new Executive order in any way. I would be the first to object to this language if that were the case, and I believe we have now remedied any confusion that might exist over that particular language.

I am hopeful that even though we were not able to ultimately pass and incorporate workable cyber protection language, that we can continue to work together.

I wish to thank the chair of the Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee, Senator Landrieu, for joining me and clarifying this important provision included in the continuing resolution.

With that, I wish to thank my colleague from Rhode Island for allowing me the time, and unfortunately his good presentation was interrupted. I thank my colleague for the time to clarify that.

I yield the floor.


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