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: 8chan owner defends platform before Congress | Facebook launches dating feature | New York City sues T-Mobile | Top NSA cyber official names ransomware as 2020 threat | Blue Dog Dems urge action on election security 8chan owner defends platform in testimony before Congress Conservatives lash out at CNN for hiring Andrew McCabe 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 KingHotel industry mounts attack on Airbnb with House bill Obama's tan suit controversy hits 5-year anniversary First House Republican backs bill banning assault weapons 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: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet Homeland Security chairman calls on new Trump aide to reestablish cyber coordinator House Democrat urges Trump to address online extremism at UN 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 KatkoHillicon Valley: Google to promote original reporting | Senators demand answers from Amazon on worker treatment | Lawmakers weigh response to ransomware attacks Lawmakers weigh responses to rash of ransomware attacks Hillicon Valley: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's account hacked | Google found iPhone security bug | YouTube reportedly to pay up to 0M to settle child privacy investigation | DNC expected to nix Iowa virtual caucus plans 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 McCaulHong Kong activists visit Capitol Hill Texas Republicans sound alarm about rapidly evolving state Overnight Defense: GOP grumbles after Trump delays military projects for wall | House panel hints at subpoena for Afghanistan envoy | Kabul bombing raises doubts about Taliban talks 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.