Biden administration eyes cybersecurity funding after attacks

Biden's infrastructure plan also seeks $100bln

  
U.S. President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, U.S. April 28, 2021. Chip Somodevilla/Pool via REUTERS

U.S. President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, U.S. April 28, 2021. Chip Somodevilla/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON - The Biden administration is intensifying its focus on cybersecurity spending after a wave of massive attacks, proposing new funding in the wake of the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack this month.

The amount of funding is likely to become a key issue as U.S. President Joe Biden seeks to win bipartisan support for his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, with Senate Republicans expected to unveil their latest counterproposal later on Tuesday. 

In a statement on Tuesday, the White House laid out the cyber funding in Biden's American Jobs Plan, including $20 billion for localities to harden the energy systems and $2 billion in grants for energy grids in high-risk areas.

Senate Republican's initial countermeasure overall called for a fraction of Biden's spending, seeking a total of $568 billion focused narrowly on traditional infrastructure and Internet access. 

Biden's infrastructure plan also seeks $100 billion to expand broadband access compared with $65 billion in Republicans' initial proposal. As part of the broadband efforts, the Biden administration would require grant recipients to implement cybersecurity measures and use "trusted vendors."

The attack on Colonial Pipeline Co shuttered a critical pipeline, triggering panic buying and gasoline shortages in some areas of the U.S. East Coast. It followed two other massive cyberattacks targeting Microsoft's Exchange email servers and software made by SolarWinds Corp .

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Steve Orlofsky) ((sheavey@thomsonreuters.com; +1-202-843-6292;))


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