There is only one Congressional hearing currently scheduled this week that will be of interest to the chemical security community. This is a business meeting of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Operations community to be held on Wednesday, 10-28-09, at 10:00 am EDT.
The agenda looks like it will be a lengthy meeting with a number of nominations and bills naming post offices to be considered. There will be two bills (among a number of others) that will be marked up; S 1649, the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Prevention and Preparedness Act of 2009, and HR 553, the Reducing Over-Classification Act of 2009.
I have covered the Senate bill briefly in an earlier blog. HR 553 was pushed quickly through the House in February and I didn’t get a chance to take a good look at it, but it is very similar to a bill that was introduced by Rep Harmon (D, CA) last year. It would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop a strategy to prevent the over-classification of homeland security information and encourage the sharing of that information; both could ultimately affect CFATS information sharing. I’ll take a closer look at it after the Senate hearing.
No word yet when the Rules Committee will hold their hearing on HR 2868. I would expect that we will see a hearing later this week or early next week. This hearing would be important because it could spell out how the House will deal with the competing versions of the bill being reported. More on that later.
I spent 15 years in the US Army as an Infantry NCO. After getting out of the Army I started working in the chemical industry, getting my BSc Chemistry degree while working as a technician. I spent 12 years working as a process chemist in a specialty chemical company. Most recently I worked as a QA/R&D Manager in a specialty chemical manufacturing facility. Currently I am working as a freelance writer.