Introduction of the Recover Act

Floor Speech

Date: May 3, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Ms. NORTON. Madam Speaker, I rise to introduce the Reducing the Effects of the Cyberattack on OPM Victims Emergency Response Act of 2022, or the RECOVER Act, which would require the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to make permanent the free identity protection coverage that Congress required OPM to provide for 10 years to individuals whose Social Security Numbers were potentially compromised during the OPM data breaches. In 2015, OPM reported that the personally identifiable information of as many as 25.7 million current, former and prospective federal employees and contractors was stolen in two data breaches. I appreciate that Representative C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger is co-leading on this bill.

After OPM announced that it would offer identity protection coverage of limited duration and value, Senator Ben Cardin and I introduced the RECOVER Act in July 2015, which would have provided affected individuals lifetime protection and at least $5 million in identity theft insurance. Congress subsequently passed a version of our bill as part of an appropriations bill, but limited the duration of the protection. Under current law, OPM is only required to provide identity protection coverage through fiscal year 2026. Under the bill I am introducing today, OPM would be required to provide coverage for the remainder of the lives of affected individuals.

The current coverage is inadequate, particularly considering that there is no limit to when the stolen data may be exploited. Therefore, there should be no limit on the duration of the coverage provided to affected individuals. This bill would give current, former and prospective federal employees and contractors who were affected both some peace of mind and protection. OPM failed to protect these people. It follows that the government must make up for its mistake.

I urge my colleagues to support this important bill.