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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 RogersOvernight Defense: Trump impeached for second time | National Guard at Capitol now armed, swelling to 20K troops for inauguration | Alabama chosen for Space Command home Top Republican congressional aide resigns, rips GOP lawmakers who objected to Biden win READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results 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) KingTop GOP lawmakers call for Swalwell to be removed from Intelligence Committee Republican Garbarino wins election to replace retiring Rep. Pete King Katko announces bid to serve as top Republican on Homeland Security panel 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 ThompsonCapitol insurrection fallout: A PATRIOT Act 2.0? New coalition aims to combat growing wave of ransomware attacks Acting DHS chief Chad Wolf stepping down 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 KatkoCalls grow for 9/11-style panel to probe Capitol attack Hillicon Valley: Intelligence agency gathers US smartphone location data without warrants, memo says | Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian hack on DOJ, courts | Airbnb offers Biden administration help with vaccine distribution House lawmakers reintroduce bipartisan bill to weed out foreign disinformation on social media 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 McCaulKremlin: US statements about pro-Navalny protests show 'direct support for the violation of the law' Thousands detained at pro-Navalny rallies in Moscow Cheney tests Trump grip on GOP post-presidency 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.