Wednesday, January 11, 2017

House Passes HR 239 – Cybersecurity Research

Yesterday the House passed HR 239, the Support for Rapid Innovation Act of 2017 by a voice vote. The bill was considered under the suspension of the rules process with only 9 minutes of debate. It would require the DHS Science and Technology (S&T) directorate to support the conduct of a variety of cybersecurity research; including research on “technologies to reduce vulnerabilities in industrial control systems” {new 6 USC 321(b)(6)}.

This bill is nearly identical to HR 5388 that was passed in the House last June. It was never taken up in the Senate.

HR 239 shares the same shortcoming of the earlier bill, it specifically {§2(c)} does not include additional funding for the new research requirements. This means that the existing grant monies distributed by S&T for research will be diluted by any amount spent on cybersecurity research.

HR 5388 was introduced so late in the 114th Congress that the failure of the Senate to take up the bill does not signify any specific opposition to the bill. The calendar toward the end of the session was crowded with too many ‘must pass’ pieces of legislation that lower priority bills such as this were easily overlooked. I suspect that HR 239 will be taken up by the Senate under their unanimous consent process sometime in the coming weeks.

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