Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Passage Of The Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act

March 1, 2022

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor as the Senate passed the critical bipartisan Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act by unanimous consent. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

Senator Peters in a minute will move to pass the Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act.

As we all know, protecting America, our government, our businesses, our utilities, so many of our entities from cyberattack has been very, very important over the last decade. It becomes even more important now as the war in Ukraine goes on, and Putin mounts his illegal, immoral, and unprovoked attack. He is escalating cyber-attacks on democracies around the world.

So the need to protect this country from cyberattack—always very, very, very important—has assumed even greater importance now with Putin fighting in Ukraine and threatening cyberattacks throughout the world.

And today the Senate is taking an urgently needed step to protect the American people, American critical infrastructure, and American government institutions from the dangerous threat of cyber-attacks.

The most important part of this provision will require our companies, our individual businesses to report cyberattacks when they occur. There has been a reluctance on the part of many in the business community to want to do this, because it may expose them to other kinds of harm and maybe the public will not want to be involved in these businesses. But the importance of the reporting is vital.

When our authorities in the government know of the attacks, they can prepare against future attacks: they will know who is attacking, where they're attack, how they're attacking, and that will allow them to strengthen our defenses against future cyberattacks.

So this knowledge of cyberattacks caused by foreign entities or domestic entities is vital as America seeks to protect itself.

This legislation has been around for a while. For too long business interests, certain business interests, opposed it. But now they have come to see the light and, in fact, we have a bipartisan agreement – unanimous in this chamber – that this bill move forward. That is very important for America's security, more important than it ever has been.

Cyber warfare is truly one of the dark arts specialized by Putin and his authoritarian regime. And this bill will help protect us from Putin's attempted cyberattacks against our country.

Last year, I asked Chairman Peters and other relevant committee chairs, to draft legislation to counter the increased threat. And Senator Peters has done an outstanding job, and I want to commend him and Senator Portman and so many others – Senator Warner among them – for being heavily involved in this issue.

And now we will have tonight—we will pass by unanimous consent—legislation. When this legislation passes and is signed into law, America will be a safer place from one of the greatest scourges we worry about – cyberattack. So I'm glad we're doing this. I'm glad both sides have agreed.

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