Sunday, May 6, 2012

Congressional Hearings – Week 5-8-12

The House and Senate come back to Washington this week. Two different committees will work on spending bills for DHS and a number of security related bills will be marked up in the House. The full House will consider a spending bill that could have cybersecurity provisions.

DHS Budget Hearings

Wednesday morning the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing to look at the President’s FY 2013 funding request for the Coast Guard. Adm. Papp, the Commandant, will be the sole witness.

Over in the House, at about the same time, the House Homeland Security Subcommittee will be marking up their FY 2013 DHS spending bill. A copy of the bill to be marked up will not be available until after both the subcommittee and the full committee have done their markups and reported the bill.

Security Related Markups

The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a markup hearing on Wednesday, looking at four separate bills. Three of the bills have some relationships to chemical security issues. They are:

• HR 3173, TWIC Processing; and

The WMD act looks like it will finally get its time in the sun. There will be an amendment in the nature of a substitute (ANS) offered by Chairman King. This is the same ANS that would have been considered back in February when the markup was previously scheduled. The bill concentrates on biohazards, the personal bête noir of Chairman King. Even the Metropolitan Medical Response System reauthorization contained in the does nothing to direct planning for a response for an attack on a chemical facility.

The TWIC processing bill was introduced last year and almost immediately added to HR 3116, the FY 2012 DHS Authorization bill, in the full committee markup of that bill. Since that bill has died a death of quiet neglect (yet again) the Committee will now try to get this bill passed on its own right. In an effort to make it easier for legitimate port workers to get their TWIC issued or renewed, the provisions of the bill will probably reduce the security of the documents according to the GAO.

The GAPS bill will add another study to the long list of ignored studies conducted by DHS. The bill requires the report to be classified, ignoring the rules for protecting port security information; just another classified report to gather dust.

All three bills will certainly be passed in committee, probably with some measure of bipartisan support. If/when they come to the floor of the House they will all probably pass there as well.

Other Spending Bills

The House will vote on two (maybe three) spending bills this week according to the House web site HR 5326, the appropriations bill for Commerce and Justice will be considered this week under rule (Rules Committee Hearing on Monday). There isn’t much in the actual bill about cybersecurity, but the Appropriations Committee Report briefly describes the FBI setting up cybersecurity equivalents of Joint Terrorism Task Forces. I’ll watch this for more cybersecurity coverage.

Two bills (one unnumbered as of today and HR 4966) would attempt to bypass some or all of the sequester provisions of last year’s spending bill will be considered this week. There is only a slim chance that security provisions could be included in the bills.

No comments:

/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */