House approves McCaul’s cyber incident response team bill

U.S. Rep. Michael T. McCaul (R-TX) commended the approval on June 10 by the U.S. House of Representatives of his bipartisan bill to authorize cyber incident response teams at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

“I want to thank my colleagues for their support on passage today and I hope to see this legislation get signed into law and codify these essential efforts at the department,” Rep. McCaul said following the voice vote approval on Monday.

The U.S. Senate received the bill on Tuesday and placed it on the legislative calendar for action.

Rep. McCaul in February sponsored the DHS Cyber Incident Response Teams Act of 2019, H.R. 1158, which is the House version of the same-named S. 315 introduced on Jan. 31.

The bill would charge DHS with maintaining cyber hunt and incident response teams to assist asset owners and operators in restoring services following a cyber incident, identifying cybersecurity risks, and mitigating strategies to prevent, deter and protect against cybersecurity risks, among other duties, according to the text of the bill.

“When cyber-attacks occur, immediate expertise is needed to mitigate damage and ensure organizations are restored,” said Rep. McCaul from the House floor on Monday. “Cyber incident response teams provide that expertise and function as our cyber first responders.”

If enacted, the proposal also would permit cybersecurity specialists from the private sector to be included on cyber hunt and incident response teams, according to the bill.

“This ensures that we have the best and brightest from both the public and private sectors working in unison to secure our critical infrastructure and vital national networks,” Rep. McCaul said.

Among the members joining Rep. McCaul in introducing H.R. 1158 are U.S. Reps. John Katko (R-NY), John Ratcliffe (R-TX) and James Langevin (D-RI). S. 315 was introduced by U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Margaret Wood Hassan (D-NH).