The House and Senate come back to Washington this week refreshed from their two week Easter Recess. There are a large number of hearings that will be conducted this week. Part of that is driven by the fact that the President releases his FY 2014 budget request tomorrow; a bunch of people are going to the Hill to explain what the President wants and why. Budget hearings will be in the news for the next couple of weeks while the two authorization committees get to work on their FY 2014 spending plans.
There will be four separate budget hearings of potential interest to readers of this blog, three of them for their potential coverage of cybersecurity issues and the fourth will potentially address cybersecurity, chemical security and safety, port and transportation security and emergency response. Actually, I don’t expect detailed mention of any of the above, but we will probably here some general policy statements. I am including the Commerce hearing because of the NIST role in the the Presidents cybersecurity EO. The four hearings are
The Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Budget Request from the Department of Defense; House Committee on Armed Services; Thursday, April 11, 2013 (10:00 AM - 1:00 PM)
Department of Homeland Security Budget; Subcommittee on Homeland Security (House Committee on Appropriations); Thursday, April 11, 2013 (10:00 AM)
The Department of Commerce’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Request; Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee (Senate Appropriations Committee); Thursday, April 11, 2013, 10:00 a.m.,
Counterterrorism and WMD
The Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee will be holding a hearing on Thursday on Counterterrorism Efforts to Combat a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Attack on the Homeland. No witness list is yet available. This is not currently being billed as a hearing on a specific bill, but I suspect that we will see the perennial introduction of a “WMD Prevention and Preparedness Act” this week and this will serve as the opening round of hearings to support that bill.
TSA and Risk-Based Security
The Transportation Security Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee will be holding a hearing on Thursday on TSA’s Efforts to Advance Risk-Based Security: Stakeholder Perspectives. No witness list is available. As with most TSA hearings I suspect that this will concentrate on passenger security, but cargo security just might get mentioned.
I almost included this in the budget hearing section of this post, but this is probably even more political theater than those hearings so I’m keeping it separate. The Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee will be holding a hearing on Friday on The Impact of Sequestration on Homeland Security: Scare Tactics or Possible Threat? No witness list is currently available. There is no telling what part of homeland security might get discussed here.
There has been a lot of talk in the press over the last week or so about a markup hearing on the CISPA bill (HR 624, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) being held behind closed doors this coming week. There is nothing on the House Intelligence Committee web site that would indicate that there is a markup scheduled on this bill.
Now, I would not be surprised to hear that there were unofficial meetings about the amendments that will be proposed for this bill when it comes to a markup. This is one of those committees that tries to form a bipartisan consensus on important legislation and if CISPA is going to have any chances of reaching the President, it will have to have lots of bipartisan support. Given the controversial nature of the bill, the only way that this is going to be achieved is if there is some serious deal making on the provisions of the bill. That deal making always happens behind closed doors.
There seems to be a consensus that this bill will make it to the floor of the House this month. That means that there will need to be a committee markup sometime this week or next.