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 KilmerOur national forests need protection — and Congress can help Democrats debate how and when to get House back in action Cornell to launch new bipartisan publication led by former Rep. Steve Israel MORE (D-Wash.), along with Sens. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerTrump: GOP senators who don't embrace him will 'lose their elections' McConnell warns control of Senate 'could go either way' in November Senate Democrats ask Trump to withdraw controversial public lands nominee MORE (R-Colo.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHillicon Valley: 'Fortnite' owner sues Apple after game is removed from App Store | Federal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizations Election security advocates see strong ally in Harris Democrats ramp up warnings on Russian election meddling 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."