Monday, April 22, 2013

Congressional Hearings – Week of 4-21-13

With a terrorist attack and a catastrophic chemical accident still dominating the domestic news Congress returns to Washington to look at more mundane matters including freight transportation and the FY 2014 budget. Two security related hearings will be held looking at cybersecurity and weapons of mass destruction.

Budget Related Hearings

Federal Railroad Administration Budget, House Appropriations, 4-25-13;

Freight Transportation

On Wednesday the Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation (not a subcommittee, maybe a temporary subcommittee) will hold a hearing on the Overview of the United States’ Freight Transportation System. According to a Panel document, they will be looking at the ‘system’ from an intermodal perspective. There is no specific mention of hazardous material shipping in that document, nor shipping security, but the topics may come up

The witness list includes:

• Fred Smith, FedEx Corporation
• Charles W. Moorman, Norfolk Southern Corporation
•  James Newsome, South Carolina Ports Authority
• Derek Leathers, Werner Enterprises
• Edward Wytkind, Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO

Weapons of Mass Destruction

The Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee will be holding a hearing on Counterterrorism Efforts to Combat a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Attack on the Homeland. This hearing was originally scheduled for April 11th. The witness list remains the same as I reported earlier.


The Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee will be holding a hearing on Thursday on Striking the Right Balance: Protecting Our Nation's Critical Infrastructure from Cyber Attack and Ensuring Privacy and Civil Liberties. It is odd that this hearing is coming after the House passage of CISPA, but that doesn’t appear to be the end of cybersecurity legislation. No witness list is currently available.

Action on the House Floor

There is only one bill that is currently scheduled to come to the floor of the House this week that even remotely concerns chemical safety matters (much less security of any kind) and that is H.R. 527, the Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act. It will be debated under a Rule on either Thursday or Friday. I haven’t covered this bill and I probably won’t mention it again.

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