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: Tech CEOs brace for House grilling | Senate GOP faces backlash over election funds | Twitter limits Trump Jr.'s account The Hill's Coronavirus Report: INOVIO R&D Chief Kate Broderick 'completely confident' world will develop a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine; GOP boxed in on virus negotiations The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Barr's showdown with House Democrats 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) KingCheney clashes with Trump Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney On The Money: 3 million more Americans file for unemployment benefits | Sanders calls for Senate to 'improve' House Democrats' coronavirus bill | Less than 40 percent of small businesses have received emergency coronavirus loans 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 ThompsonProgressive Caucus co-chair: Reported oversight change in intelligence office 'seems a bit...fascist' House lawmakers to launch probe into DHS excluding NY from Trusted Traveler Program Cuomo says Wolf, Cuccinelli violated oath of office and should be investigated 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 KatkoCongress must deliver aid and empower localities to continue assisting in COVID-19 response Lawmakers zero in on Twitter following massive hack Democrat Dana Balter to face Rep. John Katko in NY House rematch 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 McCaulHillicon Valley: 'Fortnite' owner sues Apple after game is removed from App Store | Federal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizations Lawmakers introduce bill designating billion to secure state and local IT systems American technological leadership in an evolving world 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.