WASHINGTON -  U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) delivered the following opening statement today at the full committee markup of H.R. 2105, the NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act of 2017.

Thank you Mr. Chairman for scheduling this markup today – it is especially timely as we celebrate National Small Business Week.

America’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy accounting for 54 percent of all American sales and 55 percent of American jobs.  Unfortunately, small businesses are especially vulnerable, with some reports noting that 43 percent of cyber attacks specifically target them. 

H.R. 2105, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Small Business Cybersecurity Act of 2017, will help small businesses better address their cybersecurity risks to help them survive - and thrive - in the face of such adversity.

As an owner of a multi-generational family air conditioning and heating business, I understand first-hand the importance of equipping and empowering small businesses to tackle challenges, so that they can grow and prosper.  Thus, a couple weeks ago, I introduced H.R. 2105 with the support and cosponsorship of many of my colleagues on the Committee, including Chairman Smith, Chairwoman Comstock, and Ranking Member Lipinski.

H.R. 2105 will provide small businesses in my district, state and across the country with the tools they need to meet the threats and challenges of the modern world. 

The bill:

  • describes the vital role played by small businesses in the U.S. economy, the devastating impact of cyberattacks on a majority of small businesses, and the need to develop simplified resources to help them;
  • directs the NIST Director – within a year of the Act’s enactment – to disseminate clear and concise resources, which are defined as guidelines, tools, best practices, standards, methodologies, and other ways of providing information. 
    • Dissemination would be in consultation with heads of other Federal agencies.
    • These resources – based on the NIST Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity – will help small businesses identify, assess, manage, and reduce their cybersecurity risks.

H.R. 2105 also:

  • clarifies that use of the resources by small businesses is voluntary;
  • directs the NIST Director, and heads of Federal agencies that so elect, to make the resources available on their government websites; and
  • specifies that no new funds are authorized to carry out this Act.

This bill is very similar to Senate bill S.770, the MAIN STREET Cybersecurity Act, which is supported by the National Small Business Association, the National Restaurant Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – which also supports H.R. 2105.  S.770 passed the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee in April by a voice vote, and I ask my colleagues to similarly support H.R. 2105 in a bipartisan manner, so we may prepare it for House floor action.

Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for bringing up and supporting this important bill today to help small businesses. I yield back the balance of my time.