Bipartisan bill would give cybersecurity grants to state and local governments

Bipartisan bill would give cybersecurity grants to state and local governments
© Greg Nash

Bipartisan lawmakers in both chambers proposed local, state and tribal grants to boost cybersecurity. 

On Thursday, Reps. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) and Derek KilmerDerek Christian KilmerWest Coast Dems lead call to fund early warning system for earthquakes Overnight Cybersecurity: Top Dems seek data from GOP analytics firms | Georgia election server wiped after lawsuit | Corker says Trump officials implementing Russia sanctions This is the best first step to stop Russian meddling in our politics MORE (D-Wash.), along with Sens. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerDurbin: Senators to release immigration bill Wednesday GOP senators eager for Romney to join them Gardner: Bipartisan DACA solution possible despite Trump's 's---hole countries' comment MORE (R-Colo.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Dem lawmaker wants briefing on major chip vulnerabilities Week ahead: Tech giants to testify on extremist content MORE (D-Va.), introduced the State Cyber Resiliency Act, which would fund Federal Emergency Management Agency–administered grants for cybersecurity planning and implementation. 

“Despite the velocity of the threat, 80% of states lack funding to develop sufficient cybersecurity,” said Warner in a press release announcing the bill. 

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The bill unites four legislators with cybersecurity bone fides — Warner and Gardner co-chair the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, Comstock chairs the research and technology subcommittee, and Kilmer co-chairs the New Democrat Coalition’s cybersecurity task force. 

The funding would be welcome by states and localities that have recently found themselves at the center of cyberattacks. Last year, Illinois and Arizona each had voter databases hacked in attacks attributed to Russia. 

“Cities manage substantial amounts of sensitive data, including data on vital infrastructure and public safety systems. It should come as no surprise that cities are increasingly targets for cyberattacks from sophisticated hackers,” said National League of Cities President Matt Zone, a council member in Cleveland, Ohio, in the launch press release. 

“Cities need federal support to provide local governments with the tools and resources needed to protect their citizens and serve them best."