Returning Congress has a full cybersecurity plate

But some in Congress want to install new protections for Americans whose information is incidentally swept up by the snooping.

Authorization bills: A host of authorization bills that affect cybersecurity are also on the fall agenda. First up, the Senate must wrap up work on its version of the defense policy bill for the 2018 fiscal year, which would fully authorize the $647 million request from the Trump administration for U.S. Cyber Command. A number of cyber-related amendments are on the slate. Among them is a proposal by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to expand the bill’s ban on the Defense Department using products from Russian antivirus company Kaspersky Lab to the entire federal government. Another, from Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Lindsey Graham, would authorize population-based technology upgrade grants to states to defend elections against hackers.

The Senate is also looking to move its version of the fiscal 2018 intelligence authorization bill, after the House approved its version earlier this year. Notably for cyber watchers, both measures aim to improve the digital defenses protecting elections. Also on the calendar is the Homeland Security Department’s authorization bill for the coming fiscal year. The measure — the companion to a House-passed bill — contains provisions meant to improve the exchange of cyber threat information between the government and private sector.

Funding bills: The House is also still working toward passage of its fiscal 2018 spending bills, which would increase cyber funding at DHS and the Pentagon. Senate appropriators haven’t acted on funding legislation for those departments. The House as soon as this week could vote on a funding bill amendment to prevent the State Department from closing its cybersecurity office.

Policy changes: Finally, the fate seems cloudy for one of the White House’s biggest cyber legislative priorities — a bill to upgrade aging federal networks. While the measure — which would establish a revolving fund meant to fuel years of upgrades — moved swiftly in the House, the Senate Homeland Security Committee is still studying the issue. The Senate panel is also still examining a House Homeland Security-approved bill to reorganize DHS’s main cyber wing, the National Protection and Programs Directorate, which has yet to hit the House floor.



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