Saturday, February 8, 2014

Committee Hearings – Week of 02-09-14

Again, the Senate and House are both in session and we are starting to see more congressional hearings being scheduled. This week we will be seeing four hearings that may be of specific interest to readers of this blog; a visit by the new DHS Secretary, rail transportation safety, a biosecurity hearing and a field hearing looking at the Freedom spill. I’m posting this a little earlier than normal because the field hearing is taking place on Monday.

Currently there are no bills scheduled for floor consideration in either house that would be of specific interest to readers of this blog. That could certainly change as the week progresses, particularly in the Senate where the schedule is not disclosed in advance for the ‘minor’ bills that will be considered.

Freedom Spill

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will be holding a field hearing on Monday in Charleston, WV looking at the Charleston, West Virginia Chemical Spill. The Committee web site has a pretty decent summary of the facts about the spill. There are nine witnesses scheduled including a number of local officials. Sen. Manchin (D,WV) is scheduled as is Dr. Moure-Eraso (CSB Chairman). The star witness (if he shows) will be Gary Southern, the President of Freedom Industries.

Bad news, no live web cast of this hearing. Nothing about a recorded web cast though.


The Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee will be holding a hearing looking at “Bioterrorism: Assessing the Threat”. Hopefully this will include a discussion about how bioterrorism preparedness programs will aid in preventing natural pandemics.

New DHS Secretary

Secretary Johnson will appear before a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday to discuss “the Secretary’s Vision for the Future – Challenges and Priorities”. Nothing major expected here, but it will be interesting to see what differences in focus we will see with the new Secretary.

Rail Safety

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will be holding a hearing Thursday looking at “Enhancing our Rail Safety: Current Challenges for Passenger and Freight Rail”. No witness list is available yet but the Committee hearing page notes that the hearing will include “discussion of recent high-profile rail accidents [presumably including various crude oil train wrecks], positive train control implementation, and other key safety challenges”.

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