Sunday, April 22, 2012

Congressional Hearings – Week of 4-23-12

This is going to be an interesting week with Cybersecurity Week finally coming to the House, unfortunately ICS security is not on the agenda. The Lungren bill (HR 3674) is not currently scheduled to be considered, but if the report is filed in time, it may still make it to the floor this week. Two budget hearings round out the offerings that might be of interest to the chemical-security and cyber-security communities.

Cybersecurity Week

The first day of the House week (Tuesday) cyber-week will start off with a hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management entitled; “America is Under Cyber Attack: Why Urgent Action is Needed”. It certainly sounds appropriate if just a tad bit ironic as we have been waiting for congressional action for some time.

Interestingly, this hearing is just two days away and there are still not any witnesses listed on the Committee web site. Dale Peterson took advantage of that fact last week to do an interesting piece on DigitalBond about the types of witnesses he would like to see appear before this panel. I added my two cents worth, but both Dale and I know (and so do most other observers) that we will just see the typical witnesses that we always see and that doesn’t include anyone from the industrial control system trenches.

While the House gets ready on Thursday to start actual consideration of cybersecurity legislation there is one last cyber-threat hearing with an interesting twist. The the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies of the House Homeland Security Committee will be holding a hearing on the Iranian Cyber Threat to the U.S. Homeland. I must have missed the one about the Russian mafia cyber-threat and the Chinese cyber-threat.

Oh, yes. No witness list for this hearing either.

The main point of Cybersecurity Week is, of course, to pass cybersecurity legislation. Starting on Thursday this week the full House will consider:

H.R. 2096 - Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2011, as amended
H.R. 3834
- Advancing America's Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act of 2012
H.R. 4257
- Federal Information Security Amendments Act of 2012

H.R. 3523 - Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, Rules Committee Print

The first three will be considered ‘under suspension of the rules’. This is an abbreviated debate process to be used on bills that the leadership is sure will pass. It takes a 60% vote to pass a bill under this procedure so it isn’t a process taken lightly by the leadership.

The controversial cybersecurity bill, HR 3523, is planned to come to the floor starting Thursday with a probable vote on Friday. This bill will be considered under a rule that will allow for at least some floor amendments. The Rules Committee has not yet set the date and time for the hearing where the rule will be developed but they have set the deadline for submitting amendments for Tuesday afternoon.

Budget Hearings

Two different hearings this week will look at different versions of the FY13 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill.  On Tuesday the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will be doing their markup of the as of yet unnumbered Senate bill. The House Appropriations Committee is a little further along in the process with their bill; they will be holding a full Committee markup on Wednesday.

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