Monday, May 28, 2012

Congressional Hearings – Week of 5-29-12

The House took off the week before the Memorial Day Weekend and the Senate is taking the week after off. So we only have to worry about hearings in the House this week. Those will include a hearing on the TSA Surface Security program and a rules hearing on a number of spending bills. Additionally the House is scheduled to consider a WMD bill on the floor.

TSA Hearing

The Transportation Security Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee will be holding a hearing on “TSA’s Surface Inspection Program: Strengthening Security or Squandering Scant Resources?” on Thursday. The only surface security regulations really in place deal with rail security for hazardous chemicals. Perhaps Chairman Rogers (R,AL) will ask about the status of the long overdue regulations for security of truck transportation of the same chemicals.

No witness list is currently available. We can expect that there will be at least one witness from TSA.

Spending Bills

The House Rules Committee will be holding a hearing on Wednesday to formulate the rule for a number of appropriations bills; three of which may address issues of interest to the chemical security and cybersecurity communities. The one bill of certain interest will be H.R. 5855, Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2013; I’ve addressed this bill in some detail at the committee print stage. Three other bills will also be addressed at that hearing; the two of potential interest will be:

• H.R. 5743 — Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

• H.R. 5325—Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013

I’ll be looking at each of these bills in more detail as the week progresses.

Floor of the House

According to the House Majority Leader’s web site the House is currently scheduled to consider HR 2764, the WMD Intelligence and Information Sharing Act of 2011 under suspension of the rules this week; this means it will require a 3/5 majority to pass. Scheduling it in this manner means that the leadership believes that this bill will pass without significant opposition.

Three of the four bills being considered by the House Rules Committee this week may make it to the floor on Thursday. The one not currently on the schedule is the DHS appropriations bill.

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