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January 13, 2015

Chairmen, Ranking Members Release Statements on President's Cybersecurity Information Sharing Proposal

(WASHINGTON) – The Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the House Committee on Homeland Security on Tuesday issued these statements responding to the president's proposed cybersecurity information sharing bill:

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security said: The cyber threat is ever-evolving. The Obama Administration is to be commended for working to keep pace and tackling some of the most difficult aspects of this homeland security challenge. The proposal unveiled today is the latest effort. There are a number of aspects of the proposal that warrant timely bipartisan, bicameral consideration. I am particularly interested in advancing the ball with respect to breach notifications so that more Americans will be empowered to protect themselves against identity theft and improving information sharing with the private sector. In this time of partisan rancor, the President's proposal provides us with some important opportunities to build on the legislative successes of the last Congress.

I appreciate President Obama coming to Congress with a proposal on cybersecurity information sharing, said Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Every day malicious cyber-actors steal proprietary, sensitive information from private companies, attack our critical infrastructure, and assault government agencies. Enabling effective information sharing between and among private companies and the federal government with real liability protections can improve our nation's cybersecurity by providing businesses the tools they need to defend themselves and by providing government with a better assessment of the threats we are facing. The president's proposal is an important first step in developing that legislation. I look forward to working with the White House and other committees of jurisdiction to make information-sharing a reality.

Ranking member Carper said, Today, those seeking to do us harm do not need to travel thousands of miles to carry out an attack. They can disrupt our lives and cause great damage with just a few keystrokes on a computer keyboard. Last year, Congress made strides in bolstering our nation's cyber defenses by passing four bipartisan cybersecurity bills that strengthen our national security and help modernize our nation's cybersecurity and cyber workforce. More must be done. One of our top priorities in Congress must be to promote cybersecurity information-sharing among the private sector and with the federal government to defend against cyber-attacks and encourage better coordination. It is essential that any information-sharing bill strike an appropriate balance between the ability to share necessary data and to protect privacy and civil liberties. Congress must act quickly to bring forth information-sharing legislation in the face of the growing and evolving cyber threat, and the President's proposal announced today is an important part of that effort. I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, the Administration, and stakeholders to build on the President's initiatives and address this critical issue as soon as possible.

Chairman McCaul said, While it took an attack on Hollywood for the President to reengage Congress on cybersecurity, I welcome him to the conversation. Confronting the cyber threat has been a priority of mine for the past 10 years. In December, my counterparts in the Senate and I passed five cyber bills, including legislation that authorized the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC). As a civilian interface, with robust privacy protections, the NCCIC is set up to protect Americans' privacy and civil liberties while providing a safe harbor for private entities to share cyber threat information. My committee is currently working on cybersecurity legislation to remove any unnecessary legal barriers for the private sector to share cyber threat information. I look forward to reviewing the president's proposal in detail and working with Chairman Johnson and Ranking Members Carper and Thompson to address this growing threat to our economy and national security.

Last Congress, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the House Committee on Homeland Security worked together to author several cybersecurity bills, which the president signed into law in December. Those include the Federal Information Security Modernization Act (S.2521) to update the Federal Information Security Management Act, the National Cybersecurity Protection Act of 2014 (S.2519) authorizing a National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center at the Department of Homeland Security for information sharing, and two bills to improve the federal cybersecurity workforce — the Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act (H.R.2952) and the Border Patrol Pay Reform Act (S.1691) (which contains provisions from the DHS Cybersecurity Workforce Recruitment and Retention Act of 2014).

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Media Contact:
Melinda Schnell (Johnson), 202-228-0071
Jennie Westbrook (Carper), 202-224-2627
Lauren Claffey (McCaul), 202-226-8477
Adam Comis (Thompson), 202-225-9978