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GOP lawmaker points to Colonial Pipeline as infrastructure vulnerability

Rep. Sam GravesSamuel (Sam) Bruce GravesGOP lawmaker points to Colonial Pipeline as infrastructure vulnerability Gas shortages spread to more states Republicans welcome the chance to work with Democrats on a bipartisan infrastructure bill MORE (R-Mo.) said Wednesday that the recent ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline exposed “another vulnerability” in America’s infrastructure.

Speaking at The Hill’s “The Future of Mobility Summit,” Graves, who is the top Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, stressed the need to safeguard critical systems like utilities to prevent similar attacks in the future.

“We have to be very vigilant about this. We have to figure out how to protect ourselves so that these things don’t happen moving forward,” he told The Hill’s Steve Clemons.

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The pipeline, which runs from Texas to New York, provides about 45 percent of the fuel on the East Coast. The multiday shutdown created gas shortages throughout the southeast.

Graves also discussed efforts in Washington to get an agreement on infrastructure.

He credited President BidenJoe BidenMilitary must better understand sexual assaults to combat them The Hill's Equilibrium — Presented by NextEra Energy — Tasmanian devil wipes out penguin population On The Money: Democrats make full-court press on expanded child tax credit | White House confident Congress will raise debt ceiling MORE’s “willingness to have a bipartisan deal” but said there is still work to be done to find “middle ground.”

“We have made ourselves completely open and have expressed that openness in the negotiating we’re having right now with the Democrats,” Graves said at the Siemens-sponsored event.

Graves’s remarks came after he announced plans earlier in the day to introduce his Surface Transportation Advanced through Reform, Technology, & Efficient Review (Starter) Act 2.0 in response to Biden’s infrastructure proposal.

Biden on Wednesday met at the White House with the four top congressional leaders to discuss infrastructure goals. Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats go down to the wire with Manchin Schumer unloads on GOP over elections bill: 'How despicable of a man is Donald Trump?' This week: Senate set for voting rights fight MORE said after the meeting that he thought there was a “good chance” of a bipartisan deal with Biden.

Still, Republicans haven’t yet landed on how to finance an infrastructure package, though they agree it needs to be paid for, and McConnell declined to put a price tag on a bill Wednesday.