Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, are looking to get input from the White House as they work to draft legislation that would deal with the ongoing rise of ransomware attacks, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs announced June 11.

On June 10, Peters and Portman, chair and ranking member of the committee, sent a letter to Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan looking for suggestions as Congress drafts ransomware legislation and oversight plans.

“As highlighted in recent weeks, a single ransomware attack against a vulnerable target can have widespread and devastating impacts for communities across the United States,” the senators wrote. “Criminal actors have infiltrated and held critical infrastructure companies hostage, disrupting essential elements of society ranging from our nation’s fuel distribution networks to food supply chains.”

In addition to suggestions for legislation and oversight, Peters and Portman are also asking for strategy information that Federal agencies are working on to fight ransomware attacks and new authorities or revisions that would “further empower relevant Federal agencies to combat ransomware attacks and respond.”

“The Federal government needs to do more to support partners in the public and private sectors as they work to secure their systems against ransomware attackers and punish the bad actors that perpetrate these crimes to deter future attacks,” they wrote.

The Senators are seeking a response to their letter within 30 days, as the congressmen are looking to introduce and mark up such legislation before Congress’ August recess.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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