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 KilmerThe tale of the last bipartisan unicorns Head of House Office of Diversity and Inclusion urges more staff diversity House lawmakers roll out bill to invest 0 million in state and local cybersecurity MORE (D-Wash.), along with Sens. Cory GardnerCory GardnerProtecting the outdoors: Three cheers for America's best idea Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Biden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program MORE (R-Colo.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerPanic begins to creep into Democratic talks on Biden agenda Democrats surprised, caught off guard by 'framework' deal Schumer announces Senate-House deal on tax 'framework' for .5T package 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."