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: EU pushes back against US on Huawei | Interior Department grounds drones over cybersecurity concerns | Warren releases plan to fight election disinformation | House ethics panel warns against posting deepfakes House committee advances bill that would give DHS cyber agency subpoena power Lawmakers push back at Pentagon's possible Africa drawdown 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 ThompsonRussian interference reports rock Capitol Hill Intel officials warned House lawmakers Russia is interfering to get Trump reelected: NYT Top Democrats demand answers on DHS plans to deploy elite agents to sanctuary cities MORE (D-Miss.), Reps. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondJuan Williams: Don't count Biden out Beleaguered Biden turns to must-win South Carolina Biden, Warren on ropes after delegate shutout MORE (D-La.) and John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoHillicon Valley: Officials worry about Nevada caucus technology after Iowa | Pelosi joins pressure campaign on Huawei | Workers at Kickstarter vote to unionize | Bezos launches B climate initiative Tech for Nevada caucuses under scrutiny after Iowa debacle Hillicon Valley: Judge approves T-Mobile, Sprint merger | FTC to review past Big Tech deals | State officials ask for more cybersecurity help | House nears draft bill on self-driving cars MORE (R-N.Y.) — the leaders of the panel's cybersecurity subcommittee — and Reps. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeWhat the impeachment vote looked like from inside the chamber No experience required: US hiring immigration judges who don't have any immigration law experience Trump administration restricts travel from Nigeria and five other countries MORE (D-Texas) and John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeJohn Ratcliffe back under consideration by Trump for top intel job Trump's intel moves spark Democratic fury Sunday shows preview: 2020 candidates look to South Carolina MORE (R-Texas). 

The bill has a Senate companion sponsored by Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonWhistleblower retaliation: Stop confusing unlawful attacks with politics Congress looks to strengthen hand in State Department following impeachment Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony MORE (R-Wis.) and Sen. Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanDemocratic senators ask FDA to ban device used to shock disabled students State officials press Congress for more resources to fight cyberattacks Sanders says NH Democratic senators were wrong to back Trump's USMCA 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.