More than $500M for cybersecurity included in sweeping House-passed package

The House approved more than $500 million in cybersecurity funding on Friday as part of its version of President Biden’s roughly $2 trillion Build Back Better package.

The social and climate spending bill, passed by a narrow vote of 220-213, would mostly funnel those funds to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to help address issues including cybersecurity workforce training as well as state and local government cybersecurity. 

The package gives $100 million to CISA for cybersecurity risk mitigation issues, $100 million for cybersecurity workforce and training, $50 million for moving to a secure cloud architecture, and a further $50 million to research and develop strategies to secure industrial control systems. 

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The bill also designates $35 million for CISA to provide funding to the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), $15 million for an effort to train teachers on cybersecurity, and $50 million for CISA’s CyberSentry program, which monitors the networks of critical infrastructure groups for threats. 

Beyond CISA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was given a total of $100 million to help state, local, territorial and tribal governments recruit and train a cyber workforce, and move to more secure website domains. 

“I could not be prouder that the House Democratic Majority came together today, with a sense of urgency, to deliver for the people and to tackle climate change and a wide-range of other challenges that put our communities at risk,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonJan. 6 panel plans vote to censure Trump DOJ official Clark Jan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Jan. 6 panel subpoenas Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and leaders MORE (D-Miss.) said in a statement Friday. 

“It also invests in the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to help State and local governments develop secure and resilient critical infrastructure networks by, among other things, accelerating State and local governments’ transition to the .gov domain and increasing capacity to hire network defenders,” Thompson said. 

The cybersecurity funds in the bill are the latest effort by Congress and the Biden administration to fund security priorities following a year of escalating cyberattacks on key organizations, such as the ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline and meat producer JBS USA in May. 

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The $1.2 trillion infrastructure package signed into law by President Biden earlier this week included $1 billion over four years to fund state and local cybersecurity efforts, an area where money has been lacking, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The broader Build Back Better package, which Republicans uniformly oppose, still has to make it through the Senate before it has a chance of being signed into law by President Biden.

“I look forward to swift passage by the Senate so that it can be signed by President Biden and begin to improve the lives of our constituents across the country,” Thompson said.