CBO: State/Local Cyber Assistance Bill Carries $2.8 Billion Price Tag

Implementing a proposed Federal grant program designed to improve state and local government cybersecurity would cost a total of $2.89 billion over the next six years including both expected grant totals and the cost to run the program, according to an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.

H.R. 5823, the State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act, would authorize the appropriation of at least $400 million per year between 2021 and 2025. Under the legislation, the Department of Homeland Security would review plans submitted by localities, award the grants, and monitor performance of grant recipients.

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Above the cost of the grants themselves, the CBO estimate includes $872 million for the bill’s implementation over a five-year period, based in part on historical spending for similar grant programs. Of that total: 1) $15 million would go for salaries and expenses to review grant applications and cybersecurity plans; 2) $5 million would pay for establishment of an external advisory committee called for by the bill; and 3) $20 million would be needed to cover the review process and committee expenses over the 2021 to 2025 timeline.

The CBO estimate was ordered by the House Committee on Homeland Security in February. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., who introduced the legislation, is the chairman of the subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation.

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