Funding bill boosts cybersecurity spending

Cybersecurity spending would mostly increase under the nearly $1.1 trillion spending package lawmakers agreed to on Tuesday night.

The bill is expected to get a vote in the House and Senate later this week or on Saturday. In the meantime, both chambers are expected to vote on a stopgap funding bill to avoid a government shutdown on Dec. 11, originally slated as the last day of the lame-duck session.

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Passage of the larger bill, called the “cromnibus,” would fund cybersecurity at consistent or increased levels through fiscal 2015.

“The cyber dollars keep going up, which is appropriate,” said Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseThe Hill's 12:30 Report Why Kaine is the right choice for Clinton Report: More, stronger cyber attacks to flood networks MORE (D-R.I.) early Tuesday, when asked about the bill before its release. Whitehouse chairs the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism. 

The FBI would get $8.3 billion, $81 million above 2014 levels.

The bureau has been ramping up its cyber crime work, said Joe Demarest, assistant director of the FBI’s cyber division.

It’s “one of the top priorities for the bureau,” he said at a Bloomberg Government event Tuesday.

The bureau has roughly 1,200 people within the cyber division, he said. Overall, 20 to 30 percent of the FBI’s time — “and growing” — is spent on cyber issues, he added.

Cybersecurity funding for the Department of Justice (DOJ) would be kept steady at 2014 levels — $722 million.

DOJ played an increased cybersecurity role in 2014, indicting five members of the Chinese army for hacking. Last week, the department revealed it was launching a dedicated cybersecurity unit within its criminal division.

The Department of Defense would get support for “requested personnel increases for intelligence and cyber mission areas,” according to a summary of the budget.

The “cromnibus” would keep the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) funding frozen at 2014 levels via a continuing resolution through February. The other appropriations fund agencies for the rest of fiscal 2015.

Congress has been working in recent weeks to clarify and authorize a number of the DHS’s cybersecurity responsibilities.

The Department of Energy would get a notable cybersecurity bump, up $25 million from 2014 to $304 for fiscal 2015.

Lawmakers have consistently reiterated a cyberattack on the energy industry is one of their main security concerns.

“Considering what a crazy mad jam this was at the end, as I understand it, I’m pretty satisfied,” Whitehouse said a few hours before the budget was released.