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Herrera Beutler Helps Lead Bipartisan Bill to Allow Americans to Sue Foreign Governments for Damage Done by Cyberattacks

Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) this week helped introduce bipartisan legislation, along with her colleagues Reps. Colin Allred (TX-32), Jack Bergman (MI-01), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Joe Neguse (CO-02) and Andy Kim (NJ-03), named the Homeland and Cyber Threat (HACT) Act. This bill would allow Americans to make claims in federal or state courts against foreign states that conduct or engage in cyberattacks against Americans.

“A foreign government that sponsors cyberattacks on American citizens should be held accountable for its actions, and that’s why I’m helping introduce the HACT Act to remove immunity for these foreign state actors who have wronged Americans, and allow our citizens to pursue monetary damages. Congress should stop bad acting foreign nations from undermining our national security, and opening a path to seize assets they hold here in the U.S. as a consequence for misdeeds is a good place to start,” Herrera Beutler said.

“Cyberattacks against American citizens are only increasing and Congress should give Americans the tools they need to fight back against foreign attacks. This legislation does just that by giving Americans the ability to hold foreign governments accountable for damage done by cyberattacks. I’m grateful to my colleagues from both sides of the aisle for their work on this timely and commonsense legislation,” Allred said.

Cyber attacks aren’t the threat of the future; they’re very much impacting America’s national security and our citizens right now. The HACT Act would provide a common-sense tool in the fight against foreign-directed cyber attacks. I look forward to working alongside my bipartisan colleagues to push this bill forward and provide the American people the protection they deserve,” Kim said.

“As we continue to address the rise in cyberattacks, the time is now to make this critical update to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act to ensure we are holding foreign states and their agents accountable for attacks against Americans. I was proud to lead this effort in the 116th Congress and look forward to continuing the bipartisan work to get the HACT Act signed in to law,” Bergman said.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in cyberattacks over the last decade and shockingly there is no legal recourse to hold foreign governments accountable. The HACT Act will provide this accountability and ensure Americans targeted by cyberattacks have tools at their disposal to protect themselves,” Neguse said.

"Our adversaries are increasingly engaging in sophisticated cyber-attacks designed to disrupt our infrastructure, economy, and now, even to harm our citizens. It is imperative that we take immediate action to ensure that we are protecting both our national security and the American people. Our bipartisan HACT Act establishes support for Americans to fight back against foreign cyberattacks. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this commonsense legislation,” Fitzpatrick said.

Background on the HACT Act:

This legislation would eliminate immunity afforded to foreign states—including foreign officials, employees, or agents—in the courts of the United States with regard to monetary damages sought by Americans for personal injury, harm to reputation, or damage to or loss of property resulting from cyberattacks.