This week, with both the House and Senate in Washington,
there is the normal slate of Congressional hearings scheduled. Only one of
particular interest here, a cybersecurity hearing in the House
On Wednesday, the House Homeland Security Committee will
hearing on “Modernizing the Federal Civilian Approach to Cybersecurity”.
The witness list includes two CISA officials; Acting Director Brandon Wales and
Executive Assistant Director for Cybersecurity Eric Goldstein. With the focus
on federal cybersecurity, control system security will probably not even be
mentioned. We can, however, expect to hear a bunch about SolarWinds and the
Microsoft email server problems.
On the Floor
Tomorrow the House will take up the Senate amended version
of HR 1319, American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The substitute
language that the Senate took up did add some cybersecurity spending, $650
million in §4009 (pg S1149) was given to CISA for “cybersecurity risk
mitigation”. No details are available, but I suspect that it will be going to
help fund the response to the SolarWinds breaches in federal agencies. The
House will almost certainly accept the Senate Amendments with an almost
straight party-line vote and Biden will sign it quickly.
Interestingly (okay not really) no one thought to question
if this provision met the ‘budgetary affects’ standard for being considered in
a budget reconciliation bill, it certainly does not. But it is not
controversial, and would have received bipartisan support, so no one asked for
a review by the Senate Parliamentarian. There are almost certainly a large
number of other spending bequests contained in the bill that would not have met
the ‘budgetary effects’ standard if anyone had thought to ask, but spending is
still an important political tool in the Congress.
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Author Of this post: PJCoyle