Monday, February 22, 2016

Committee Hearings – Week of 02-21-16

The House and Senate are back in Washington this week from their President’s Day recess. The spending issue season has started with three big budget hearings (for readers of this blog) this week. We also have a pipeline safety and cybersecurity hearings on the agenda.

FY 2017 Budget

The budget hearing process started in the Senate a couple of weeks ago and it gets into high gear in the House this week. Budget hearings are big picture looks at what government spending will look like in FY 2017 so don’t look for much in the way of details. The spending hearing will come later this spring.

The big three budget hearings this week are being held by House Appropriations Committee subcommittees. They are:

Department of Homeland Security Budget – Wednesday;
Department of Transportation Budget – Wednesday; and
Department of Defense Budget - Thursday

Pipeline Safety

The Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will be holding a hearing on Thursday on the “Reauthorization of DOT’s Pipeline Safety Program”. This is the start of the reauthorization process for FY 2017. The witness list includes:

• Marie Therese Dominguez, Administrator, PHMSA;
• Andrew Black, Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL)
• Donald Santa, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA)
• Cheryl Campbell, XCEL Energy; on behalf of the American Gas Association
• Carl Weimer, Pipeline Safety Trust

The Committee web site includes links to two interesting hearing documents; a staff briefing on the hearing issues and a staff review of the status of requirements from the 2011 Pipeline Safety Act.


The Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies of the House Homeland Security Committee will be holding a hearing on Thursday on the "Emerging Cyber Threats to the United States". The witness list includes:

• Frank Cilluffo, Center for Cyber and Homeland Security;
• Jennifer Kolde, FireEye Threat Intelligence;
• Adam Bromwich, Security Technology and Response; and
• Isaac Porche, The RAND Corporation

On the Floor

There is one bill currently scheduled to come to the House floor this week that may be of specific interest to readers of this blog. On Tuesday HR 3584, the Transportation Security Administration Reform and Improvement Act of 2015, will be considered under suspension of the rules. This typically means that the Leadership expects that the bill will get broad bipartisan support. No amendments will be made under this provision.

The Senate does not provide a real schedule of what will be considered in the coming week, but there is an outside chance that an agreement to finish consideration of S 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015. Readers should remember that there was a lengthy amendment process (here, here and here) mostly completed on the bill, but it was being held-up over possible consideration of a variety of amendments on the Flint, MI water crisis.

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