The House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday voted along partisan lines to add more than $1 billion in new funding for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) over the next 10 years as part of a $3.5 trillion catch-all spending plan put together by House and Senate Democratic leaders in Congress.
The markup of the concurrent budget reconciliation measure was approved on a 19 to 14 vote with Democrats in favor. The bill, along with other reconciliation measures being marked up by various House committees, will go to the House Budget Committee next.
The largest chunk of proposed funding, $400 million, in the Homeland Security panel’s bill would be used by CISA to implement portions of President Biden’s cybersecurity executive order earlier in the areas of multi-factor authentication, endpoint detection and response, improved logging, and securing cloud systems.
Earlier this year, CISA was the beneficiary of $650 million in a much larger federal stimulus package for fiscal year 2021 that was on top of its existing $2 billion budget. A good portion of that funding is being put toward strengthening federal cyber defenses, including endpoint detection and response.
CISA is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
The reconciliation package included $865 million plus another $185 million in three separate amendments offered by committee Democrats to further boost CISA’s spending in the coming years. An amendment by Rep. Elise Slotkin (Mich.) would provide $60 million to the agency for cyber threat hunting, particularly on cloud systems.
The committee approved Rep. Yvette Clarke’s (N.Y.) amendment to add $75 million to CISA’s Cyber Sentry program, which allows the agency to provide sensors for cyber threat detection and vulnerabilities on the networks of critical infrastructure owners and operators that voluntarily agree to host the software.
The committee also approved an amendment by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas) to add $50 million for CISA to conduct research and development to better secure operational technologies, which are used to control industrial systems. All three amendments passed with only Democratic support.
Republicans on the committee generally approve of extra funding for CISA but disapprove of the larger $3.5 trillion package and also feel that Democrats are pushing the cybersecurity funds through without due diligence in terms of the agency’s needs and ability to wisely spend the funding.
Elsewhere in the committee’s budget bill is $210 million “for general operations and support” within CISA, $100 million for cyber talent development efforts, $50 million for CISA to support the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center, $50 million for the agency’s Crossfeed program, $25 million to conduct a national multi-factor authentication campaign, $20 million for the agency to work with international partners on protecting critical infrastructure, and $10 million to support continuity of the economy efforts.