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House committee advances bill that would give DHS cyber agency subpoena power

House committee advances bill that would give DHS cyber agency subpoena power
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The House Homeland Security Committee approved legislation on Wednesday that would give the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) cyber agency subpoena power and increase cyber protections for the nation. 

The committee unanimously approved the bipartisan Cybersecurity and Vulnerability Identification and Notification Act, sending it to the full House for a vote. The bill would give DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) the ability to issue subpoenas to internet service providers that would compel them to release information on any cyber vulnerabilities detected on the networks of critical infrastructure groups.

Rep. Jim LangevinJames (Jim) R. LangevinHillicon Valley: Tech companies duke it out at Senate hearing | Seven House Republicans vow to reject donations from Big Tech House passes legislation to elevate cybersecurity at the State Department Bipartisan lawmakers signal support for Biden cybersecurity picks MORE (D-R.I.), one of the bill’s sponsors and a key cybersecurity advocate in the House, said in a statement following the vote that the legislation would give CISA “the ability to say something when they see something.”

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He added that “while CISA analysts work diligently to monitor and uncover risks, current policy impedes them in their efforts to warn at-risk critical infrastructure operators. There have been numerous instances where CISA has not been able to identify the owner of a vulnerable system and warn them of their exposure.”

Other sponsors of the bill are committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonLawmakers slam DHS watchdog following report calling for 'multi-year transformation' 10 Democrats join NAACP lawsuit against Trump Ambitious House lawmakers look for promotions MORE (D-Miss.), Reps. Cedric RichmondCedric RichmondBiden and Harris call Floyd family after Chauvin verdict Julia Letlow sworn in as House member after winning election to replace late husband Congressional Black Caucus members post selfie celebrating first WH visit in four years MORE (D-La.) and John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoRepublicans race for distance from 'America First Caucus' Top House Republicans ask Harris for meeting on border Personal security costs for anti-Trump lawmakers spiked post-riot MORE (R-N.Y.) — the leaders of the panel's cybersecurity subcommittee — and Reps. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeDemocrats debate timing and wisdom of reparations vote House panel approves bill to set up commission on reparations Race debate grips Congress MORE (D-Texas) and John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeTrump alumni launch America First Policy Institute Sunday shows preview: Democrats eye two-part infrastructure push; Michigan coronavirus cases surge Former Trump officials eye bids for political office MORE (R-Texas). 

The bill has a Senate companion sponsored by Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold Johnson15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban 'Real Housewives of the GOP' — Wannabe reality show narcissists commandeer the party Republicans fret over divisive candidates MORE (R-Wis.) and Sen. Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanHouse votes to extend ban on fentanyl-like substances Schumer lays groundwork for future filibuster reform To encourage innovation, Congress should pass two bills protecting important R&D tax provision MORE (D-N.H.) that was introduced in December. The Senate committee has not yet taken up that bill. 

The House committee on Wednesday also unanimously approved legislation that would create a set five-year term for CISA directors, with sponsors saying that uncertainty over leadership could occur without one. 

By establishing a set term limit of five years for the CISA Director position, my legislation will improve efficiency at the agency and provide certainty outside of the ad hoc appointments and varying term lengths that are currently in place,” Katko, who sponsored the bill alongside Langevin and Richmond, said in a statement. 

The leaders of the House Homeland Security Committee noted that the bills marked up by the committee that applied to DHS agencies would likely be combined into an overall “authorization” package for DHS that will be introduced sometime in the next few months.

“In the coming months, we will be looking to the Senate to not only advance these measures but extend the authorization for DHS’ chemical security program and, in the spring, working with us on DHS authorization legislation,” Thompson said Wednesday.