S. 79 would authorize the appropriation of $10 million for the Department of Energy (DOE) to carry out a pilot program to identify security weaknesses in critical infrastructure (for example, power generation, transmission, and distribution systems) that could result in a debilitating effect on national security, economic security, public health, or safety. DOE, in partnership with participating owners and operators of such infrastructure, would evaluate technologies and standards that could be used to defend those assets.
The bill also would authorize the appropriation of $1.5 million for DOE to establish a working group to evaluate the technologies and standards examined in the pilot program. The working group also would be required to develop a national engineering strategy to be used to defend the nation’s critical infrastructure from security vulnerabilities.
Based on historical spending patterns, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost $11.5 million over the 2019-2023 period, assuming appropriation of the specified amounts.
Enacting S. 79 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
CBO estimates that enacting S. 79 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
S. 79 would impose an intergovernmental mandate, as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA), on state, local, and tribal governments. The bill would preempt state and local laws that would otherwise require governmental agencies participating in the pilot program to disclose information about their activities, such as the sharing of cybersecurity information. Although the preemption would limit the application of state and local laws, CBO estimates that it would impose no duty on state or local governments that would result in additional spending or a loss of revenues.
S. 79 contains no private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA.
On September 21, 2017, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for S. 1761, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, as reported by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on August 18, 2017. Title V of that bill is similar to S. 79, and CBO’s estimates of the cost of implementing the two bills are the same.