This evening the House Rules Committee held an emergency hearing to formulate the rule for 11 new mini-spending bills for consideration on the floor of the House tomorrow. The bills will be considered under a closed rule with 40 minutes of debate per bill and will be passed by a simple majority vote. This ensures that they will pass with or without support from the Democrats.
Those bills are:
• HJ Res 75—Nutrition Assistance for Low-Income Women and Children Act;
• HJ Res 76—Nuclear Weapon Security & Non-Proliferation Act;
• HJ Res 77—Food and Drug Safety Act;
• HJ Res 78—Preserving Our Intelligence Capabilities Act;
• HJ Res 79—Border Safety & Security Act;
• HJ Res 80—American Indian and Alaska Native, Health, Education, and Safety Act;
• HJ Res 82—National Weather Monitoring Act;
• HJ Res 83—Impact Aid for Local Schools Act;
• HJ Res 84—Head Start for Low-Income Children Act;
• HJ Res 85—National Emergency and Disaster Recovery Act; and
• HR 3223—Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act
HJ Res 78, 79 and 85 may be marginally of interest to readers of this blog though none of them specifically address chemical security, chemical safety or cybersecurity.
Needless to say I am disappointed that none of these bills addresses the issue of the CFATS authorization. The current authorization expires at midnight tomorrow. I’ve mentioned on a couple of occasions that there are lawyers that have claimed that the program doesn’t really need specific authorization authority as long as funds are appropriated for the program. Well as of right now the program authorization is about to expire and there is no funding for the program.
Now, I am pretty sure as a practical matter that sooner or later there will be a continuing resolution and it will contain the standard verbiage extending the CFATS authorization. Until that CR is passed nobody can take any action to shut down the program (and that is a pretty impressive administrative nightmare to work through) because there are no funds available to undertake such an operation.
So while CFATS will technically die tomorrow night, nothing can be done to bury it and it will almost certainly be resurrected when the CR eventually passes.