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Senators OK Funding to Improve Their Own Cybersecurity

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Senate appropriators forwarded legislation to boost the upper chamber’s own funding to combat data breaches and cyber strikes.

The $28.6 million funding bump will be focused partly on raising cyber protections throughout the chamber and on training senators and their staffs in basic cyber hygiene practices, according to an outline.

The legislative funding bill also boosts funding for senators’ personnel and office expenses to support the rising cost of ensuring digital security.

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A separate bill forwarded by Senate appropriators Thursday cuts funding for the government’s cyber standards agency, but by far less than House appropriators or President Donald Trump hope to.

The Senate bill would reduce the National Institute of Standards and Technology funding by $8 million from the prior fiscal year to $944 million. By contrast, the House version of that bill cuts NIST funding by $87 million, and the president’s budget proposal would reduce funding by $227 million.

NIST plans to manage funding cuts so the agency’s cyber mission is affected less than other divisions, NIST Information Technology Laboratory Director Chuck Romine has said.

The Senate bill also hikes funding for FBI cyber investigations, part of an overall $213 million funding spike at the bureau, and provides at least $60 million for U.S. federal attorneys to prosecute cyber crimes.

Both spending bills will head to the Senate floor. Final approval will depend on reaching numerous spending compromises between the House and Senate, which is far from assured. 

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