Monday, July 13, 2015

Committee Hearings – Week of 07-12-15

Both the House and Senate will be working in Washington this week. There is lots of different stuff on the agenda as the summer recess approaches. Hearing of specific interest to readers of this blog will include:

Homeland Security spending bill markup;
Oversight hearings on DHS and PHMSA;
WMD control;
CSB nomination; and
S 1732 markup.

DHS Spending

The House Appropriations Committee will be marking up the FY 2015 DHS spending bill on Tuesday. A copy of the bill approved last week by their Homeland Security Subcommittee is available as is a copy of the draft report for the bill. This bill will almost certainly be introduced later this week.

DHS Oversight

The House Judiciary Committee will be holding an oversight hearing on Tuesday. The only witness will be Secretary Johnson. I doubt that there will be much mention of chemical security or surface transportation security at this hearing, but you never can tell.

PHMSA Oversight

The Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will be holding an oversight hearing on the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 and related issues on Tuesday. Some of the witness testimony is already available. The witness list includes

Dianne Black, County of Santa Barbara, California;
Ron Bradley, PECO Energy;
Stacy Cummings, Interim Executive Director, PHMSA;
Donald Santa, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America;
Carl Weimer, Pipeline Safety Trust; and
Stan Wise, Georgia Public Service Commission

There have been some congressional complaints about how quickly PHMSA has been implementing the requirements of the 2011 bill. Expect to see some adversarial questioning of the relatively new Interim Executive Director.

WMD Hearing

There will be a joint hearing by two subcommittees of the House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday on “Weapons of Mass Destruction: Bolstering DHS to Combat Persistent Threats to America”. The current witness list includes DHS representatives from Office of Health Affairs, S&T and the Nuclear Detection Office. There are two non-governmental witnesses:

Alan D. Cohn, Steptoe & Johnson, LLP; and
Rick "Ozzie" Nelson, Center for Strategic and International Studies

According to the Committee website the hearing “will review the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) proposal to consolidate certain weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and explosives defense activities at DHS headquarters to ensure America is prepared to combat these threats.”

CSB Nomination

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will be holding a nomination hearing on Wednesday. Of the two nominees being considered readers of this blog will probably be most interested in Kristen Kulinowski to be a Member of the Chemical Safety Board. Kulinowski is a chemist with expertise in nanomaterial safety.

S 1732 Markup

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee will be holding a markup hearing on S 1732, the Comprehensive Transportation and Consumer Protection Act of 2015, on Wednesday. This bill was introduced on Friday and the bill has not yet been published by the GPO but the Committee does have a committee print available. A quick look at the table of contents indicates that there may be numerous provisions of interest to readers of this blog; expect a review from me before Wednesday’s hearing.

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