Friday, October 2, 2009

Continuing Resolution Signed

Wednesday President Obama signed HR 2918 after it was passed by the Senate. This legislative budget bill (providing funds for the operation of the House and Senate) included the continuing resolution that will keep the government running while Congress continues their work on the remaining budget bills (including the DHS budget HR 2892). I have noted in previous blogs that DHS is of the opinion that this continuing resolution provides an effective one-month extension of the CFATS authorization. This reasoning was backed up by a Senate document that explained the conference report for HR 2918. That report noted that the “CR would extend authorizations through October 31, 2009 for certain programs that would otherwise expire”. The “Chemical Facility Security Program” was one of the thirteen programs listed. None of these programs were specifically listed in Division B (the continuing resolution section) of HR 2918 so there would still be the potential for a legal challenge of any CFATS (or any of the other programs listed) enforcement actions until the DHS budget bill is actually passed. Fortunately, there will almost certainly be no enforcement actions under CFATS for a couple of months. Even if there were though, courts typically take notice of these type documents as proof of ‘Congressional Intent’ when interpreting laws.

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