Two Important Ernst Measures Pass Committee

Legislation to Name Cedar Rapids post office after SFC Terryl Pasker, & Federal Information Systems Safeguards Act Head to the Full Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, two of U.S. Senator Joni Ernst’s (R-IA) measures passed the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee: The House companion legislation to rename a Cedar Rapids post office after Sergeant First Class (SFC) Terryl L. Pasker, an Iowa National Guardsman who was killed in Afghanistan, and the Federal Information Systems Safeguards Act of 2016. Both bills passed the committee with bipartisan support and head to the full Senate for consideration.

“I am grateful for the bipartisan support to rename a Cedar Rapids post office in honor of  Sergeant First Class Terryl Pasker. On July 9, 2011, SFC Pasker gave the ultimate sacrifice to his country in defense of our freedoms, and this is one way we can recognize his heroism and service to our country.  

“Additionally, in light of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data breach, which impacted a number of Iowans, I am pleased we are able to advance  in a bipartisan manner  the Federal Information Systems Safeguards Act which aims to help reduce the risk of another breach and protect the personal information of American citizens. This bill ensures that federal government agency heads have the tools they need to secure their IT networks through restricting access to certain websites on government computers without first having to engage in collective bargaining with federal employee unions. Our cybersecurity cannot be up for negotiation, and our agencies must have the ability to act quickly to respond to threats and vulnerabilities in their IT systems.”

**Click to watch Senator Ernst speak on the importance of these measures during today’s Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee business meeting.**

 

About the Legislation to Rename a Cedar Rapids Post Office for SFC Pasker:

  • This bill would designate the facility of the United States Postal Services located at 615 6th Avenue SE in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as the “Sergeant First Class Terryl L. Pasker Post Office Building”.
  • SFC Terryl L. Pasker was born in Anamosa, Iowa, enlisted in the US Army in 1990, and joined the Iowa National Guard in 1995. While serving in the Guard, he deployed to Afghanistan from 2004, and again in 2011 with the 334th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division. SFC Pasker gave the ultimate sacrifice to his country when he was killed in a green-on-blue attack in Panjshir Province, Afghanistan on July 9, 2011, near the end of his tour.  SFC Pasker was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He is survived by his wife, Erica; parents, Mary and David; brother, Andrew, and two sisters, Christine and Rebecca.
  • Today’s passage of H.R.4605 through committee follows introduction of the companion bill by Senator Ernst, along with Senator Chuck Grassley, in March. This is the Senate version of Representative Rod Blum’s (R-IA) bill, cosponsored alongside Iowa Representatives Dave Loebsack (D-IA), David Young (R-IA) and Steve King (R-IA). H.R.4605 now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

About the Federal Information Systems Safeguards Act of 2016:

  • Following a 2014 Federal Labor Relations Authority decision effectively establishing that federal agency heads have to negotiate with federal employee unions before restricting access to certain websites on government computers for cybersecurity reasons, this bill would make clear that agency heads do not have to engage in collective bargaining before taking steps to secure their IT networks.
  • As OPM Acting Director Beth Cobert has stated before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, webmail services like Gmail is “the way a lot of threats come in” to government networks.  
  • According to a recent OMB report, federal agencies reported more than 77,000 cyberattacks on government networks during Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, a 10 percent increase from FY 2014.
  • This legislation now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
  • Click here to view the legislation.

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