White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Wednesday blamed Republicans in Congress for recent cyberattacks against the United States, and refused to blame Russia.

"The United States has made important progress in strengthening our cybersecurity, and that's because the president has made it a priority," Earnest said at his daily press briefing. "I would say a significant source of disappointment has been a failure on the part of Congress to provide additional resources that could strengthen our cyberdefenses. It's Republicans in Congress who've been the chief obstacle to this progress.

Related Story: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/article/2597949
"You've heard me say many times that the president included a substantial, robust proposal in his budget to consider strengthening cybersecurity," Earnest added. "And Republicans for the first time in four decades canceled the hearing to discuss the budget."

The House and Senate budget committees said in February that they would not hold hearings on the president's overall budget proposal for fiscal 2017, and said the president's $4 trillion proposal was simply too far from what Republicans would be able to accept.

The package included a proposal for $19 billion in federal cybersecurity spending, and Democrats have sought to use it as a political wedge against the GOP.

Related Story: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/article/2582789
Earnest's answer came in response to a reporter who asked about preventing attacks on U.S. institutions by state-backed groups, and Russia in particular, which the media has generally described as being culpable for recent high-profile attacks on the Democratic National Committee and other institutions.

Earnest declined to mention the country, and maintained his focus on the GOP. "It's not just that they are unwilling to work with the administration to try to make progress in areas like cybersecurity. It's that they are refusing to even talk to the administration about how to make progress on cybersecurity."

"That's rather disappointing, and I think it reflects an abdication of the responsibility of Republicans to govern, particularly when you're talking about something that shouldn't really be a source of political controversy like cybersecurity," Earnest said.