DHS IG to report on the “feasibility and merit of establishing a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Surface Transportation Security in the Transportation Security Administration” §312(b) of the Thompson Amendment; and Comptroller General to report on “the roles and responsibilities of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Transportation with respect to pipeline security” §406(a) of the Thompson Amendment.The one substantive amendment that could affect chemical transportation security is the Castor Amendment. This amendment would add §403(r) to ‘Safe Trucker Act of 2009’ section of the bill to address the issue of redundant background checks required by state and local governments. It would require the Secretary to establish regulations to prohibit “a State or political subdivision thereof from requiring a separate security background check for any purpose for which a transportation security card is issued under this section”. It does provide the Secretary the discretion to waive this requirement if the State or local government can demonstrate “a compelling homeland security reason that a separate security background check is necessary”. Early Consideration of HR 2200 As noted earlier, HRes 474 provides for early consideration of HR 2200. This ‘early consideration’ carries with it some restrictions. There will only be ‘one hour’ of debate allowed on the floor of the House with each of the fourteen amendments getting ’10 minutes’ of that debate. I know, 10x14=140 not 60, but that is how Congress does its math. This limited debate and early consideration comes with a cost to the House leadership, the bill will require 2/3 vote for passage. If it fails on this vote (probably unlikely), it can be brought up again later in the session. At that time the debate would be longer, additional amendments could be offered, and (most importantly) only a simple majority would be required to pass the bill. I’ll be watching next week to see how this bill fairs. I expect that it will pass. The Thompson amendment will probably also pass. I would not be surprised to see the Castor amendment also pass. None of this is really controversial.
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