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[] Homeland security bill becomes a magnet for cybersecurity initiatives,

July 3, 2002 

Homeland security bill becomes a magnet for cybersecurity initiatives 

By William New, National Journal's Technology Daily 

Legislation to create a Homeland Security Department, a top
congressional priority, has begun to attract previously introduced
cybersecurity and other technology-related bills as riders.

The most activity is in the House, where numerous committees and
subcommittees with jurisdiction on homeland security have until July 12
to recommend changes to the legislation, H.R. 5005. Staffers for
Virginia Republican Tom Davis, for instance, have redrafted several of
his bills as potential amendments to the homeland measure.

"Debate over how to best structure a new Department of Homeland Security
offers an excellent opportunity for Congress to address many critical,
related issues," Davis said Tuesday. For instance, he said the White
House proposed an information-sharing framework on threats to critical
infrastructure that "gives us the momentum we need to move our
information-sharing bill [H.R. 2435]."

According to Davis' spokesman, a "breakthrough" has led to changes in
the information-sharing bill, such as deleting the term "cybersecurity"
to allow for the inclusion of physical security; clarifying the
structure of the information sharing process; and deleting the original
antitrust language that sparked Justice Department concerns. 

Davis also is eyeing the homeland bill to reauthorize and "give teeth"
to the Government Information Security Reform Act, which expires in
November, through his separate bill, H.R. 3844, on the issue. He also
intends to attach procurement-related legislation: H.R. 3832, which
would establish an acquisition workforce-training fund and streamline
the procurement process; and H.R. 4694, which would give procurement
officers more flexibility. Davis also may try to add H.R. 4629, a bill
to create a central office to help vet new homeland security
technologies. And Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y., has shown interest
attaching a Senate-introduced bill, S. 2037, to create a "NetGuard" of
tech experts for emergencies. 

On the Senate side, there may be fewer changes to the homeland security
legislation at the committee level. The Governmental Affairs Committee,
chaired by Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., has sole jurisdiction. Lieberman
sent letters to relevant committees on June 14, asking for input before
the committee votes. The vote is tentatively scheduled for the week of
July 15, his spokeswoman said Tuesday. Committee members may offer
amendments germane to the bill.

The homeland security bill is the third item on legislative calendar
after the Senate returns from this week's recess, with final action
planned by the August recess. 

Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., is trying to get sections of his two
cyber-security bills, S. 1900 and S. 1901, passed as part of another
bill, S. 2182, sponsored by Ron Wyden, D-Ore. The two senators' offices
are negotiating, and the resulting measure could be added to the
homeland bill. 

"We're on the lookout for the best way to get [the cybersecurity bill]
through Congress, and that might include any homeland security
legislation," said Michael Briggs, Edwards' press secretary.

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