Rep. Ritchie Torres Leads Effort to Push White House to Include Funding for Cybersecurity Protection in Infrastructure Package

May 28, 2021

Rep. Torres and Rep. Yvette Clarke, Chairwoman of the Homeland Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Innovation Subcommittee, Pen Public Letter to President Biden to Prioritize Cybersecurity in American Jobs Plan

Washington, D.C. Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Vice Chair of the House’s Homeland Security Committee, is leading a new letter urging President Biden to include funding for cybersecurity protection and cyber workforce training in the infrastructure package, the American Jobs Plan. Rep. Torres was joined on the letter by Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY-9), Chairwoman of the Homeland Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Innovation Subcommittee.

In the letter, Reps. Torres and Clarke make the following requests of the Biden Administration:

  • Establish a review board chaired by Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and comprised of representatives from sector risk management agencies and the private sector, to review plans for certain large infrastructure projects to ensure that physical security and cybersecurity considerations are appropriately integrated,
  • Include $100 million for cyber workforce training in the American Jobs Plan,
  • Include $500 million grant program: HR 3138, State & Local Cybersecurity Act, in the infrastructure package. This grant would be administered through the Department of Homeland Security to help state and local governments make strategic investments in cybersecurity.

The recent Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, which impacted the delivery of oil to the East Coast, revealed how vulnerable the country remains to ransomware attacks. Despite the uptick in cyber-attacks, the American Jobs Plan does not include funding for cyber protections. Cyberattacks against state and local governments rose 50% between 2017 and 2020. Notably, these attacks affected not only business operations, but also public schools, hospitals, police stations, and public safety organizations, according to cybersecurity firm BlueVoyant.

The Members write:

“The American Jobs Plan is necessary to rebuild traditional and non-traditional infrastructure to ensure the United States can build back better. At the same time, any 21st century investment in our infrastructure must go beyond physical infrastructure and include strong support for cybersecurity.

Additionally, the American Jobs Plan aims to ‘create millions of good paying jobs, rebuild our country’s physical infrastructure and workforce.’ Yet, there is no funding in the plan to grow our cybersecurity workforce.

Now is the time to act to ensure the United States can build back better, and a key field we urgently need to build upon is our cybersecurity. Cybersecurity can no longer be an afterthought. We must use the full force of the federal government to harden our cybersecurity systems and grow our cybersecurity workforce.”

See the full text of the letter here.

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