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. LangevinOvernight Defense: State Dept. watchdog was investigating emergency Saudi arms sales before ouster | Pompeo says he requested watchdog be fired for 'undermining' department | Pensacola naval base shooter had 'significant ties' to al Qaeda, Barr says Lawmakers move to boost federal cybersecurity in annual defense bill Experts sound alarms about security as states eye online voting 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 ThompsonStates plead for cybersecurity funds as hacking threat surges House members race to prepare for first-ever remote votes Federal watchdog finds chemical facilities vulnerable to cyberattacks MORE (D-Miss.), Reps. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondStates plead for cybersecurity funds as hacking threat surges Democrats lobby Biden on VP choice Bottom line MORE (D-La.) and John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoStates plead for cybersecurity funds as hacking threat surges GOP Rep. Pete King to buck party, vote for Democrats' coronavirus relief bill Lawmakers offer bill to expand employee retention tax credit MORE (R-N.Y.) — the leaders of the panel's cybersecurity subcommittee — and Reps. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeePelosi: George Floyd death is 'a crime' Impeachment figure among those chosen for Facebook's new oversight board Texas House Dems ask governor to issue stay-at-home order MORE (D-Texas) and John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeGerman lawmaker, US ambassador to Germany trade jabs The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Americans debate life under COVID-19 risks The Memo: Trump agenda rolls on amid pandemic MORE (R-Texas). 

The bill has a Senate companion sponsored by Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonFrustration builds in key committee ahead of Graham subpoena vote  Mail ballot surge places Postal Service under spotlight House chair threatens subpoenas if Pompeo doesn't provide Biden docs he gave Senate GOP MORE (R-Wis.) and Sen. Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanSenators ask DeVos to adjust FAFSA form due to the coronavirus pandemic The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump spotted wearing a face mask Sen. Shaheen tells Biden campaign she does not want to be vetted for VP 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.