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Mr. LANGEVIN. Madam Chair, I thank the gentleman for yielding. I rise in strong support of H.R. 624, and I do thank Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Ruppersberger for their commitment to a bipartisan and inclusive process on a very, very challenging issue.
We know with certainty that cybersecurity threats that we face are real, and they are increasing both in number and sophistication every day. Congress may not have acted last year, but those who would use cyberspace for nefarious purposes certainly did, and they continue to steal intellectual property, identities, funds from bank accounts, and sensitive security information.
I know full well that this is not a perfect bill, such is the nature of the legislative process. But we need the authority that CISPA provides to allow the voluntary sharing of cybersecurity threat information.
Improvements, I should point out, have been made over last year's bill. Several amendments have already been adopted to alleviate many privacy concerns, and more may be adopted before we are done. I welcome such progress. This bill is an important step, but information-sharing is only one portion of the broader cybersecurity debate.
I have long maintained that we must also work to ensure the creation of minimum standards for critical infrastructure; the education of a strong and vibrant future cybersecurity workforce; and effective Federal and military cyber structure, including a Senate-confirmed cybersecurity director with real authority, including comprehensive budgetary authority; and the coordination of research and development on cybersecurity across the Nation.
Together with the President's recent executive order, I believe CISPA and the bills this House approved yesterday are a very promising beginning, but there is obviously much more to be done.
Again, I want to thank Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Ruppersberger for their efforts. I commend them on a collaborative approach to a very important issue, and I ask my colleagues to support this important measure.
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Mr. LANGEVIN. Madam Chair, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
My amendment ensures that utility districts are not unnecessarily and unintentionally limited from protecting their own information and ultimately will lead to a broader and more effective information sharing structure, leading to better cybersecurity across all critical infrastructure. Specifically, the amendment replaces the word ``local,'' which is typically interpreted to mean city, town, and county by the courts.
Such a definition, I believe, could potentially leave out special districts that provide utility services, like the Salt River Project, the Central Arizona Project, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and other smaller special districts.
My amendment, Madam Chair, which is supported by the American Public Power Association, changes the bill to read, ``political subdivision,'' allowing more utilities to receive the protections built into our bill. In doing so, it also makes the language consistent with the preemption provision in the bill.
If not amended, this legislation could subject utility districts to additional requirements if they share threat information, effectively creating a deterrent to participation--precisely what we want to avoid. We know that myriad threats are arrayed against the networks that run our critical infrastructure, and we must ensure that the utilities, which are the front lines in the cybersecurity fight, are properly protected.
I have long advocated for minimum standards for utilities, but absent such standards, I believe that we have to make sure that as many utilities as possible have access to the best possible information to defend their networks and are able to share information about the attacks that they experience.
This is an important bill overall. I really do want to applaud, again, Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Ruppersberger for their outstanding work on the underlying bill.
Obviously, the challenges of the threats that we face in cyberspace are growing exponentially every day. It seems like there's not a week that goes by that you don't hear of a new major attack on the critical infrastructure or, in particular, our banking system or major corporations with intellectual property theft, and obviously we have got to take action and do so now. Failure to do so would be a great abdication of our responsibility.
I'm disappointed the bill didn't pass last year. I know how hard the chairman and ranking member worked on this legislation, but clearly our adversaries, or enemies, have not taken a hiatus. They are actively engaged in cyber attacks or threats of intellectual property or identity theft, and the list goes on and on.
The underlying bill is a major step forward in protecting our cyber networks, allowing classified information to be shared with the private sector, allowing threat information to be shared back with the government to give broader situation awareness, as well as information sharing between both in the private sector among companies.
So, again, the underlying bill is a major step forward. I believe this amendment that I'm offering makes the bill even better for making sure that broader utilities are included in allowing for information sharing.
I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense amendment and the underlying legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time.
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