Politics Rick Scott blocks Senate vote on top cyber nominee until Harris visits border
CNN panel criticizes Kamala Harris' 'cringeworthy' border response
Kamala Harris has faced a barrage of criticism for her handling of her first foreign trip. On Sunday CNN's politics panel joined in, describing her as bizarrely unprepared for obvious questions.Harris, tasked by President Joe Biden with working to stem soaring migration levels, found herself mocked for being unable to answer the obvious question as to when she would visit the U.S.-Mexico border. To her visible irritation, she was asked multiple times when she would go and see for herself - and each time, she stumbled over an answer.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) on Wednesday blocked a proposed unanimous consent vote on President Biden's nominee to lead the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) until Vice President Harris visits the U.S.-Mexico border later this week.
Scott made clear on the Senate floor that he is not opposed to Jen Easterly serving as the director of CISA, but that the block is meant to hold the Biden administration accountable for addressing migration concerns at the southern border.
"This isn't about Ms. Easterly, this isn't about cybersecurity," Scott said. "I am here today because families in my state of Florida and across our nation deserve accountability, and President Biden has shown a total lack of accountability when it comes to addressing the border crisis."
Kamala Harris is still not ready for primetime (much less 2024)
After her horrific interview performances this week, a President Harris is looking like it will never happen ; that's if she's judged by her handling of the biggest task assigned to her thus far as vice president.Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist for The Hill and a Fox News contributor.
Scott voted in favor of approving Easterly following her nomination hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, but announced at the time that he would place a hold on Senate votes on all nominees for Department of Homeland Security positions until Biden visited the U.S.-Mexico border.
Harris's office announced prior to the attempted Senate vote on Wednesday that she on Friday after weeks of GOP criticism on the issue. Scott expressed skepticism about Harris completing the trip, but vowed to lift his holds on DHS nominees once she does.
"More than anything, I hope this isn't a political stunt," Scott said. "If she truly goes to see this crisis, I am going to lift all my holds of DHS political nominees, it's that simple."
Biden's cyber budget good, but still insufficient to meet the threats
America needs proactive, forward-looking investment that both mitigates the past year’s problems and prevents next year’s.The White House is requesting a 14 percent increase in federal civilian cybersecurity spending, or $9.8 billion all together. This comes on top of the FY2021 11 percent spending growth among major civilian departments and agencies. The $1.2 billion annual increase includes an additional $750 million for "agencies affected by recent, significant cyber incidents.
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Gary Peters (D-Mich.) brought up both Easterly's nomination and the nomination of Robin Carnahan to serve as administrator of the General Services Administration for a vote Wednesday. Carnahan's nomination was unanimously approved by the Senate.
Peters highlighted the need to have a Senate-confirmed director of the CISA in light of recent attacks such as the SolarWinds hack and ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline and JBS USA.
"Cyberattacks put each and every one of us at risk, and I would hope my colleagues would allow these nominees to be confirmed today so they can keep us safe," he said.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) also expressed support for the nominees ahead of the attempted votes.
"The threat of ransomware attacks and other cyber-crime is on the rise, from state actors as well as cyber-bandits who are given sanctuary by our adversaries," Schumer said on the Senate floor. "We need people at the helm of these important agencies to focus on hardening our nation's cybersecurity. This should be a completely non-partisan issue, and my Republican friends should not object."
CISA has been without Senate-confirmed leadership since former President Trump fired then-Director Christopher Krebs in November following efforts by CISA to push back against election misinformation and disinformation.
The agency bills itself as the nation's risk adviser, and is tasked with protecting critical infrastructure from physical and cyberattacks, including elections.
If eventually confirmed to her position, Easterly will likely work closely with Chris Inglis, who was unanimously by the Senate as the nation's first White House national cyber director last week.
Kamala Harris Finally Visits the Border—800 Miles From Where the Action Is .
In her first five months in office, Vice President Kamala Harris has learned at least one important lesson about immigration: You can run to the border, but you can’t run from the border. That’s because sooner or later the border will find you. That’s especially true when you’re a U.S. elected official in 2021, whether you’re pandering to white nativists who want to keep out Central American refugees, or Latino activists who want to let more of them in. This week, the border found Harris. The California Democrat — who never showed much interest in immigration while representing a border state in the U.S. Senate — finally made it to the U.S.-Mexico border.