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May 28, 2021, 3:09 p.m. EDT

Biden’s budget includes $750 million to respond to SolarWinds hack, other big cybersecurity spending

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By Victor Reklaitis

Significant chunks of President Joe Biden’s proposed $6 trillion budget aim to bolster U.S. cybersecurity, with his administration calling for “$750 million in additional investments tailored to respond to lessons learned from the SolarWinds incident.”

Beyond that proposed outlay tied to the SolarWinds /zigman2/quotes/208088323/composite SWI +1.82% hack, which was a sprawling attack deemed a grave threat to U.S. national security , Biden’s spending blueprint calls for other cybersecurity-related outlays, such as providing $500 million for a technology modernization fund.

There’s also an additional $110 million for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and $15 million for the Office of the National Cyber Director, which was established by a defense spending bill.

Administration officials describe their proposed spending on cybersecurity in part as necessary to counter hackers based overseas. One budget document out Friday says: “The Budget prioritizes the need to counter the threat from China while also deterring destabilizing behavior by Russia.”

The proposed outlays come after the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack earlier this month that led to gasoline shortages in the southeastern U.S.

Other Washington efforts tied to strengthen cybersecurity after the Colonial hack include the reintroduction of several bills focused on the cyber resilience of the oil, gas and electric sectors, according to analysts at Height Capital Markets.

“None of the bills would mandate cybersecurity standards for gas and liquids pipelines. Industry and some Republican policymakers are pushing back against mandatory standards, arguing a uniform standard would weaken resilience as bad actors would only need to solve for a single problem,” the analysts said in a recent note.

Overall, Biden’s budget for next year is piled high with new safety-net programs for the poor and middle class, while depending on taxing corporations and the wealthy to keep the nation’s spiking debt from spiraling out of control.

Related: Biden’s budget would run $1.8 trillion deficit next year

And see: Biden plans retroactive hike in capital-gains taxes

U.S. stocks /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.58% /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.61% traded higher Friday afternoon, in the final trading session of the week and month, with support from data confirming an economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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