While the focus this week will be on the President’s State of the Union speech, Congressional hearings will be taking place this week. There will be three organizational hearings for committees of interest in the Senate. There will also be three hearings addressing background issues that might impact future hearings and legislation; two in the House and one in the Senate.
Three Senate committees will be holding short (scheduled for 30 minutes in two cases) organizational meetings this week. The committees are:
• Energy and Natural Resources Committee, 2-12-13;
• Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, 2-13-13; and
The most important thing that will come out of these meetings will be the listing of subcommittee chairs and members. This is all decided in advance, but the democratic trappings must be observed.
The Senate Appropriations Committee will be holding a hearing on Valentine’s Day looking at sequestration issues. There will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth about the devastating effects of sequestration on the Federal government. Among the dire prognosticators will be Secretary Napolitano. I doubt if CFATS or computer security will receive special mention, but you can never tell.
Threats to the Homeland
The House Homeland Security Committee will be holding a hearing on Wednesday that will look at a “New Perspective on Threats to the Homeland”. I expect that we will be hearing more about al Qaeda in Africa and homegrown threats and perhaps cyber-threats. The witnesses will all be from the civilian sector, so the testimony will all be unclassified and more openly opinionated. The witnesses include:
• Admiral Thad Allen, Senior Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton
• Mr. Shawn Henry, President, CrowdStrike Services
• Mr. Michael Leiter, Senior Counselor, Palantir Technologies
• Hon. David M. Walker, Founder and CEO, The Comeback America Initiative
• Mr. Clark Kent Ervin, Partner, Patton Boggs, LLP
The House Transportation Committee will also meet on Wednesday. They will be looking at the “Federal Role in America’s Infrastructure”. Topics of interest are sure to include maintaining, replacing and securing that infrastructure. Again, they will all be private sector witnesses, but it looks like they will have a slightly more diverse background. They will include:
• Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
• Edward G. Rendell, Co-Chair, Building America’s Future, and former Pennsylvania Governor
• Terry O’Sullivan, General President, Laborers’ International Union of North America
On the Floor
There is nothing currently on the agenda for the coming week on the floor of either the House or Senate that looks to be of particular interest to the chemical security or cybersecurity communities. The Collinsville Renewable Energy Promotion Act (HR 316) will be coming up in the House under suspension of the rules so there will be no amendments, little debate, and it will probably pass. This bill restores and extends federal permits to construct two hydropower facilities in Connecticut. Nothing of interest here, you can move along.