[TheRecord] House approves massive infrastructure plan that includes $1.9 billion for cybersecurity

The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday approved $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that will investment nearly $2 billion in cybersecurity efforts throughout the federal government.

The final vote, after a day of painstaking negotiations among congressional Democrats, was 228-206. Thirteen Republicans joined the majority of Democrats to support the measure; six Democrats voted against it.

The bill now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

The legislation passed by the Senate in August but was stalled in the House as Democrats tried to negotiate a deal on a separate $1.9 trillion economic spending package that is also loaded with cybersecurity provisions.

After okaying the infrastructure legislation, lawmakers adopted a procedural rule setting a floor debate framework on the social spending package for later this month in a 221-213 party-line vote.

“Generations from now, people will look back and know this is when America won the economic competition for the 21st century,” Biden said in a statement after the vote, lauding both the infrastructure and the social policy measures.

The White House announced that Biden would speak about the measures at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.

The infrastructure bill allocates $1.9 billion in cybersecurity funds, with $1 billion devoted to creating a new grant program to improve the cybersecurity of state, local, tribal and territorial governments.

The money would be administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which runs the Homeland Security Department’s existing grant programs, over a four-year period starting in fiscal year 2022. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency would act as a subject matter expert when determining the awards.

The measure incorporates the Cyber Response and Recovery Act, which authorizes $100 million over five years to support federal response to cyber incidents. It also allows the Homeland Security Secretary, working with the National Cyber Director, to declare a significant cyber incident. CISA would coordinate the response to the event and tap the emergency fund to help both private companies, and the government, recover from cyberattacks.

Lawmakers also folded $21 million into the massive bill for National Cyber Director Chris Inglis to stand up the new office. The organization has relied on a White House contingency budget in order to operate.

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