House Homeland Security Republicans to introduce slew of cybersecurity bills

House Homeland Security Republicans to introduce slew of cybersecurity bills

Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee are gearing up to introduce a bevy of bills aimed at enhancing the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) cybersecurity capabilities.

The bills are the first glimpse into the new "American Security Agenda" that committee Republicans plan to pursue this Congress. 

Rep. Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersHillicon Valley: Trump rails against 'terrible bias' at White House social media summit | Twitter hit by hour-long outage | Google admits workers listen to smart device recordings Trump officials defend use of facial recognition amid backlash Republicans say they're satisfied with 2020 election security after classified briefings MORE (R-Ala.), the ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee, will announce the agenda during remarks Tuesday afternoon at the International Summit on Borders in Washington, D.C.

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Rogers will say that the goal of the agenda is to “take a hard look at the Department’s missions and act to ensure that DHS is prepared to tackle the emerging threats to our homeland,” including threats to social media, satellites and theft of intellectual property.

Republican members of the committee plan to introduce seven pieces of legislation in the coming weeks, with several specifically focused on cybersecurity.

Rep. Pete KingPeter (Pete) Thomas KingBerkeley professor warns deepfake technology being 'weaponized' against women Hillicon Valley: Harris spikes in Google searches after debate clash with Biden | Second US city blocks facial recognition | Apple said to be moving Mac Pro production from US to China | Bipartisan Senate bill takes aim at 'deepfake' videos Senators unveil bipartisan bill to target 'deepfake' video threat MORE (R-N.Y.) will reintroduce the Securing the Homeland Security Supply Chain Act, which would enable DHS to keep products from vendors that pose national security risks out of U.S. supply chains. This legislation was passed by the House during the last Congress, but stalled in the Senate. It had multiple bipartisan co-sponsors, including Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonHillicon Valley: FTC reportedly settles with Facebook for B fine | Trump calls to regulate Facebook's crypto project | Court rules Pentagon can award B 'war cloud' contract | Study shows automation will hit rural areas hardest Border Patrol chief was member of secret Facebook group for agents: report Live coverage: House Oversight examines Trump family separation policy MORE (D-Miss.). 

Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) will introduce the Pipeline Security Enhancement Act, which would give DHS’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) the power to inspect and improve the physical security and cybersecurity of U.S. pipelines.

And the cybersecurity subcommittee's ranking member, Rep. John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoStudent loan borrowers are defaulting yearly — how can we fix it? Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker House approves amendment to reverse transgender military ban MORE (R-N.Y.), will introduce the State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act. This legislation is designed to help DHS and its local government partners bolster their cybersecurity resiliency capacity by authorizing grants and technical assistance.

Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulOvernight Defense: House approves 3 billion defense bill | Liberal sweeteners draw progressive votes | Bill includes measure blocking Trump from military action on Iran House approves amendment seeking to block Trump from taking military action against Iran Trump officials defend use of facial recognition amid backlash MORE (R-Texas), the former chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, will introduce legislation to formally reauthorize the Biometric Identification Transnational Migration Alert Program, which allows DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency to compile data on violent criminals, terrorists and fugitives and scan migrants at the border.

Three other bills set to be introduced by GOP Homeland Security committee members will include one to help TSA identify emerging threats to the transportation system, and others on reforming DHS’s structure and management.

Rogers will note in his speech that “these seven bills are just the start,” and that “we are working on other bills to address emerging threats that we hope to introduce soon as part of our agenda.”

A Homeland Security Committee aide told The Hill in a phone call that while timing for the formal reintroduction of these bills has not been set, some will be reintroduced “this week." The aide emphasized that “we are not going to drop everything tomorrow,” and that the overall agenda outlined by Rogers will be “built out in the next 16 months.”

The aide said that Rogers and Thompson appear to be in agreement on most of the cybersecurity issues, noting that both congressmen are “very interested in making sure that DHS keeps up with nation states and hackers and making sure that our cyber infrastructure is secure.”

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has also been consulted on the issues Rogers will outline, the aide confirmed to The Hill, noting that the chairmen and ranking members of both committees have met to discuss the agenda. 

The aide said that both Rogers and Katko engage with DHS on a weekly basis, and that the committee’s job is “to make sure they [DHS] can do their job correctly.”

“Instead of changing the deck chairs on a sinking ship, we want to make sure that this a department that is fully engaged and prepared for the 21st century,” the aide said.