The House Committee on Homeland Security unanimously approved on Wednesday H.R. 3696, the National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2013.
The bill was sent to the full House for consideration.
The committee said in a statement that the Act “addresses the cyber threat by giving the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the tools to secure our nation in cyberspace, while protecting privacy and civil liberties and prohibiting any new regulations at DHS.”
The bill codifies several cybersecurity efforts already in progress; beefs up others, like the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center; and focuses on partnerships with the private sector. It is intended to be budget neutral.
H.R. 3696 was introduced in December by Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Ranking Member Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., as well as Subcommittee Chairman Patrick Meehan R-Pa., and Subcommittee Ranking Member Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y.
“Cyber attacks on our oil and gas facilities, electric grids, water systems, banks and transportation systems threaten our national security and economy every day,” McCaul said in a statement. “We cannot wait for a major attack to take action, and I am pleased that the committee today unanimously passed legislation that improves DHS’ ability to defend against the many threats to our critical infrastructure.”
Meehan added that with the cyber attacks at Target, Nieman Marcus and the hotel franchise manager White Lodging, “it seems that almost every day we hear news of more American consumers victimized by cyber attack. It’s only a matter of time before our power grids or financial networks are the latest victims of hackers.”