FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 22, 2020
Contact: Press@paul.senate.gov, 202-224-4343
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), chairman of the Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management (FSO) Subcommittee, released the following statement after U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) blocked the Senate from holding committee hearings this afternoon in protest of President Donald Trump’s upcoming selection of a Supreme Court nominee:
“While Senator Schumer claims to be concerned about the federal government’s pandemic response, his purely political blocking of this afternoon’s Senate committee hearings prevented my Federal Spending Oversight subcommittee from holding a hearing on state and local cybersecurity threats that have accelerated during the pandemic.
“In an example of how Washington should function, Senator Maggie Hassan and I had crafted this hearing over several weeks, in close cooperation with one another, in strong bipartisan fashion.
“Our hearing focused on cybersecurity in the health care and public education sectors and in particular the proliferation of ransomware attacks over the past several years.
“A number of school districts around the country have been victims of ransomware attacks over the past several months, including Fairfax County Public Schools in Northern Virginia—one of the largest public school districts in the country. My office reached out to Fairfax County Public Schools about appearing this afternoon, but they declined; however, one of the panelists we had scheduled to appear was the superintendent of Hartford Public Schools in Connecticut, where the first day of school had to be postponed due to a ransomware attack.
“Moreover, on September 17th, the Associated Press reported that a Düsseldorf, Germany, woman died en route to a hospital in a neighboring city because the hospital in Düsseldorf had been taken off-line by a ransomware attack. One of the panelists we had scheduled to appear was an expert from the American Hospital Association to talk about cybersecurity for hospitals and health care systems here in the U.S.
“It is unfortunate that an in-depth, bipartisan discussion of these emerging threats must take a back seat to this fit of pique on the part of the Minority Leader.”
Today’s hearing, which we hope to reschedule at a later time, was set to feature testimony from the following witnesses:
The Honorable Christopher Krebs
Director, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
New Hampshire Department of Information Technology
Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Hartford Public Schools
Senior Advisor for Cybersecurity and Risk
American Hospital Association
Chief Executive Officer and Founder