Thursday, June 2, 2011

Much Amended HR 2017 Passes in House

While the complete record of the floor debate on HR 2017, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2012, has yet to be published, it is clear that on a vaguely bipartisan vote of 231 to 188 (20 Republicans voting Nay and 18 Democrats voting Aye) the House passed HR 2017. As far as I can tell from the floor summary record on Clerk’s website there was no objection raised to §536, so the CFATS authorization extension appears to remain in the bill. We’ll know for sure when we can see the amended version of the bill published by the GPO; hopefully tomorrow, but more likely next week.

Beyond the two amendments I noted in last night’s blog post, I did not see any other amendments that would be of specific interest to either the chemical security community or the cyber security community.

There was an interesting discussion about CFATS funding at the very start of the one-hour of general debate (before the amendment process) on HR 2017. The colloquy was between Rep. Murphy (R, PA) and Rep. Aderholt (R, AL). Murphy, the sponsor of HR 908, asked about the CFATS funding and authorization in the bill in light of impending action on HR 908. Aderholt replied:

“I congratulate the Energy and Commerce Committee on pursuing the CFATS authorization on an expedited basis this year. We do hope and expect that CFATS will be authorized under regular order prior to the start of the new fiscal year. However, it was important that we include funding for the 2012 appropriation bill for CFATS, and we do not want that line item to appear to be in conflict with the currently enacted sunset date of October 4, 2011.” Congressional Record; June 1st, 2011; pg H3834
Apparently the reasoning behind Aderholt’s comments was sufficient to stop the removal of the CFATS authorization (§536) from HR 2017 that had at least been contemplated by Chairman Upton.

We now get to wait for action on the Senate version of this bill that has yet to be introduced by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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