Katko Opening Statement In Reconciliation Markup
Ranking Member Katko’s Opening Statement (as prepared for delivery)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Today the Committee is meeting to consider our allotted portion of the much larger budget reconciliation package written by Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Schumer. This package, assembled without any input from the minority, is not the right way to go about making effective policy and investment in homeland security, especially cybersecurity.
While this Committee has forged a strong bipartisan working relationship on cybersecurity issues under Chairman Thompson’s leadership, I am disappointed that Democratic leadership’s agenda has found its way to our doorstep.
Instead, Democratic leadership has seen fit to ensure Republicans have no say in informing such consequential legislation. The question before us today is whether our Democratic colleagues will cosign Speaker Pelosi’s unilateral and partisan agenda. While cybersecurity is a bipartisan priority for this Committee, the process that has brought us to this markup today was anything but bipartisan. I am pleased that existing homeland security appropriations language increases CISA funding and sets the agency on the right track with proper congressional oversight. This markup today is not about limiting funding for CISA.
Let me be clear: this is not a cybersecurity bill. This is the homeland security provision of a massively broad budget reconciliation bill that focuses only on spending large sums of taxpayer dollars for a disparate array of cyber programs, without deliberative consideration of actual need or congressional oversight.
What is even more frustrating is not what is in this text, but, rather, what is left out. Nowhere does the term “ransomware” appear in this text, despite it being one of the preeminent cyber threats of our time and the source of recent high-profile attacks against U.S. critical infrastructure. Additionally, despite a virtually unmitigated security and humanitarian crisis continuing along our southwest border — something within this Committee’s power to address — there are no provisions or investments in this legislation to secure the border and support our frontline DHS personnel, who continue to succumb to the impact of COVID-19 in performing their duties.
Further, despite significant evidence that the Biden Administration’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan has left the homeland at renewed risk from groups like al Qaeda and ISIS, I am deeply concerned that this legislation does nothing to support our counterterrorism capabilities in the face of this increased terrorist threat.
While we were not included in the drafting process for this legislation, today, Committee Republicans will offer amendments to improve the underlying text and address threats that matter significantly to the American people, while providing critical support to the DHS workforce. I believe the amendments my Republican colleagues will offer will secure the southern border, mitigate threats stemming from al Qaeda and ISIS, enhance our cybersecurity and transportation security infrastructure, and support the frontline workforce in unprecedented ways.
I urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to change the partisan course of this legislation written by Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer and support the commonsense amendments we will put forward for consideration today.
Thank you, and I yield back.