This week both the House and Senate will be in Washington. Spending bills and the DOD authorization bill are still big priorities this week. There are a number of potentially interesting hearings this week that may be of specific interest to readers of this blog including the intel authorization bill, the OPM hack, surface transportation security, chemical warfare, and the DHS spending bill.
The House Rules Committee will be meeting this afternoon to formulate the rule for the consideration of HR 2596; this was postponed from last week. There will only be limited amendments allowed during the consideration of this bill. A total of 27 have been submitted to the Committee to draw from.
Some of the more interesting ones (for readers of this blog) include:
∙ A report on FBI information sharing;
∙ Another attempt to limit NSA influence at NIST;
∙ A report on cyber-threat trends;
∙ Prohibit CIA and NSA from using software backdoors; and
∙ A report on the OPM hack.
Assad’s Chemical Attacks
The House Foreign Affairs Committee will be holding a hearing on Wednesday about “Assad’s Abhorrent Chemical Weapons Attacks”. An interesting slate of witnesses, but no one from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. I don’t expect much more than hand wringing and condemnation from this hearing; certainly no action.
We have been seeing all sorts of news over the weekend about the ‘data breach’ at the Office of Personnel Management. On Tuesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on the topic. It will be interesting to watch how the questions and answers slide right past each other in this hearing. There will be no new or insightful information here.
Surface Transportation Security
The Transportation Security Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee will be holding a hearing on Tuesday on “Safeguarding our Nation’s Surface Transportation Systems Against Evolving Terrorist Threats”. The witness list includes:
∙ Stacey Fitzmaurice, Office of Intelligence and Analysis, TSA;
∙ Jennifer Grover, Homeland Security and Justice Team, GAO; and
∙ John Roth, Inspector General, DHS
Anytime the witness list includes both an IG and GAO representative, there is going to be some bad news. I expect that these two reports may become available later today.
FY 2016 DHS Spending
On Tuesday the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee will be holding a markup hearing for the FY 2016 DHS spending bill. We will probably not be able to see the bill until the full committee; probably next week.
On the Floor
The Senate will finish work this week on the FY 2016 DOD authorization bill (HR 1735). That bill will have to come back to the House to determine if they will accept the extensive Senate amendments or whether a conference committee will be required; I expect the later.
The intelligence authorization bill is scheduled to make it to the floor of the House on Tuesday. The only other potentially interesting thing happening in the House is a potential War Powers resolution requiring the removal of US Forces from Iraq. It is unlikely to pass and is almost certainly a political move to pressure the President to more clearly define the role of those forces being employed against IS.