Monday, September 8, 2014

Congressional Hearings – Week of 9-7-14

Congress is back in session after a long month back in their districts. With just this week and next (and maybe a half-week at the end of the month) they have just a limited amount of time to get their Washington grandstanding done before elections. Some of that grandstanding will be in committee hearings. Only two hearings this week, though, that will be of specific interest to readers of this blog; both in the Senate.

Cyber Terrorism

On Wednesday the Senate Homeland Security Committee will be holding a hearing on “Cybersecurity, Terrorism, and Beyond: Addressing Evolving Threats to the Homeland”. The witness list is a who’s who of upper level cybersecurity policy wonks:

• Francis X. Taylor,Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis, DHS;
• Suzanne E. Spaulding, Under Secretary, National Protection and Programs Directorate, DHS;
• Nicholas J. Rasmussen, Deputy Director, National Counterterrorism Center, ODNI; and
• Robert Anderson, Jr., Executive Assistant Director, Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch, FBI

It’s a war out there. Grand strategy will be discussed; known enemies will be named; and nothing new will be heard.

Freight Rail Service

Also on Wednesday the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on “Freight Rail Service: Improving the Performance of America’s Rail System”. Three shipper organizations, a Department of Agriculture guy all take on a single railroad executive. So we’ll here about captive shippers, lack of grain cars, and freight rates. The 800 lb gorilla will have to sit in the back of the room since it doesn’t look like anyone wants to talk about crude oil trains.

On the Floor

Nothing to see here folks, move on to next week. There are not spending bills on the list of items to do before election so we can expect to see a rather blasé continuing resolution being published tomorrow so that the House and Senate can both vote on it before they head home for the weekend. Of course they could hold off until the end of the month just to see if the Republican leadership in the House can hold things together for one important vote while the clock is ticking.

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