- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 26, 2016

The top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee accused Republicans Wednesday of endangering the nation’s cybersecurity as a result of GOP-sponsored spending cuts.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, Maryland Democrat, blasted Republicans during a committee hearing for pushing “massive cuts,” the likes of which he said would prevent government agencies from protecting their networks from hackers.

“The ticking time bomb here is that the Republicans keep slashing agency budgets year after year, and pretending that these actions have no negative repercussions,” Mr. Cummings said, The Hill reported.

“We cannot expect federal agencies to modernize, replace and strengthen their information systems against determined, sophisticated cyberattackers without giving them the resources and tools they need to do so,” the lawmaker added.

The congressman made the comments one day after the House Appropriations Committee proposed cutting $236 million from the IRS in 2017, in spite of hackers having repeated success during recent years with regards to infiltrating the tax agency’s systems. In February, the IRS said more than 700,000 Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information may have been pilfered last year.

“These massive cuts proposed by Republicans reduce the amount of funding the IRS could devote to system upgrades,” Mr. Cummings said, The Hill reported.

Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican, acknowledged Wednesday that measures must be taken to ensure the government’s computer systems can properly fend off hackers, especially in light of a report published this week that revealed some federal agencies rely on technology more than 50 years old.

“Taxpayers deserve a government that leverages technology to serve them, rather than one that deploys unsecure, decades-old technology that places their sensitive and personal information at risk,” Mr. Chaffetz said, FedScoop reported.



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