House lawmaker renews push for cybersecurity measures
The House Government Reform Technology and Procurement Policy Subcommittee on Tuesday approved legislation to promote online government and included in that bill, H.R. 2458, a provision-based on the Federal Information Security Act (FISMA)-to permanently reauthorize 2000 Government Information Security Reform Act (GISRA) and institute other cybersecurity requirements for agencies.
Subcommittee Chairman Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican, added the FISMA language to the e-government bill even though he already has won House passage of the proposal as part of another measure, H.R. 5005, that would create a Homeland Security Department. A Senate e-government bill, S. 803, also contains a provision to permanently reauthorize GISRA.
Under that law, agencies must assess their information security practices periodically. The provision in the e-government bill would permanently extend those requirements and provide for additional security enhancements.
"We think it's so important that we are covering all our bases," Davis spokesman David Marin said of the decision to add the FISMA language as a "rider" to two separate bills. "Clearly, there are concerns on the House side, at this point, that the Senate is not moving quickly enough on homeland security," he said. The Senate debate on homeland security has been stalled for weeks, primarily over a labor-related dispute.
GISRA is set to expire Nov. 1, although the House has passed a six-month extension as part of the fiscal 2003 Defense Department reauthorization bill. Marin noted that the temporary extension buys some time until legislators can pass the GISRA enhancements.
Davis and other proponents of the broader e-government bill aim to move the measure to a full vote in the Government Reform Committee on Oct. 9. "It is our goal to get it through the committee and on to the House calendar next week," he added.