Monday, July 28, 2014

Congressional Hearings – Week of 7-27-14

This is the start of the last week currently scheduled for the House and Senate to be in Washington until after the Labor Day Weekend. There is only one hearing currently scheduled that is of specific interest to readers of this blog; a Senate markup hearing that looks at a number of interesting bills including CFATS.

Senate Markup Hearing

On Wednesday the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a business meeting to cover a wide range of nominations and legislation. Included in the list of bills to be addressed are:

HR 4007, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program Authorization and Accountability Act of 2014;
S 2547, the RESPONSE Act of 2014; and
S 2664, a public alert and warning system bill yet to be published.

HR 4007 is, of course, the bill of biggest interest here. The Committee leadership has been talking about writing their own bill since the first of the year, but has failed to reach a consensus on that language. There has been recent talk about Chairman Carper (D,DE) wanting to see language added that would allow Tier 4 facilities to ‘self-certify’ compliance with the site security plan requirements. That amendment would probably be acceptable to the House. Anything more complicated than that might derail passage of this bill.

House Floor

Today the House will consider a number of bills under suspension of rules. Four of them will be of interest to readers of this blog:

HR 2952 - The Critical Infrastructure Research and Development Act;
HR 3107 - The Homeland Security Cybersecurity Boots-on-the-Ground Act;
HR 3202 - The Essential Transportation Worker Identification Credential Assessment Act; and
HR 3696 - The National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act.

The House leadership has determined that these bills have enough bipartisan support to ensure their passage with a 2/3 vote. I’m kind of surprised that HR 3696 made that cut considering the number of organizations that still have problems with privacy issues in the bill. We will see if they get surprised on this vote; it does happen periodically.

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