Sunday, September 11, 2011

Congressional Hearings – Week of 9-12-11

There is only one hearing currently scheduled in either house of Congress this week that might be of interest to the chemical- or cyber- security communities. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will be holding a business meeting to look at an as of yet unpublished bill entitled “Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act of 2011”.

There hasn’t been a DHS authorization bill since the Department was formed in 2002. During the last session both Chairman Lieberman (I,CT) and his House counterpart, Chairman Thompson (D,MS), had made it a priority to get an authorization bill passed, unfortunately neither actually introduced an authorization bill, that was left to Rep King (R,NY) who was then the Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Committee who introduced HR 5590 in June of last year..

That bill was essentially killed when it was referred to all six committees (except the Appropriations Committee) that had jurisdiction over portions of the Department’s operations. If Lieberman’s Committee introduces a bill in this session the same sort of thing will kill the bill in the Senate. Until the Senate and House leadership can agree to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission about the oversight of Homeland Security, these inter-committee rivalries will almost certainly prevent passage of a comprehensive authorization bill.

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