Monday, November 18, 2013

Congressional Hearings – Week of 11-17-13

Both the House and Senate will be back in session today. While there are a number of hearings scheduled for this week only three appear to be of specific potential interest to readers of this blog: they include medical software, FirstNet and DHS confirmation hearings. And it looks like the Senate may actually consider the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, S 1197.

Medical Software

The Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will be holding a hearing tomorrow looking at “Federal Regulation of Mobile Medical Apps and Other Health Software” and HR 3303. As I mentioned in my blog post about that bill, there is nothing currently in the bill that would extend FDA regulatory authority to software security issues. There is an outside chance that this will come up during this hearing.

BTW: There is a nice background document on the hearing web site, but no mention of software security issues.


The Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold an oversight hearing on FirstNet and the Advancement of Public Safety Wireless Communications. No witness list is currently available.

DHS Confirmation

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will vote tomorrow on the nomination of Jeh C. Johnson to be the Secretary of DHS. While there has been some controversy about the background of Mr. Johnson, this vote coming so soon after his appearance before the Committee probably means that a favorable vote will be forth coming.

S 1197

According to the Congressional Record, the Senate is scheduled to vote on a cloture motion to allow the Senate to proceed to consideration of S 1197. As I noted earlier this bill has a number of cybersecurity provisions. It’s original consideration was held up by the general disagreement between the Republicans and Democrats on spending issues. I’m not sure what has changed, but it would seem that Sen. Reid (D,NV) thinks that he has enough votes to move this bill forward.

If it passes (and it probably will if the cloture vote succeeds) it will then be tacked onto the House Bill (HR 2397) which probably means another spending conference committee. Many of the same folks will be on that conference as are on the budget conference that is trying to iron out differences between the Senate (read Democrats) and House (Republicans) so that a final 2014 spending bill can be put together.

This move by Reid may signal that there is at least some agreement between the conferees on defense issues.

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