Sunday, February 8, 2015

Committee Hearings – Week of 2-8-15

Both the House and Senate will be in Washington this week. There are a number of threat/intel type hearings on the House side of the Capital and one internet of things (IOT) hearing in the Senate. Other than that, nothing of potential specific interest to readers of this blog.


None of the currently scheduled threat/intelligence hearings are specifically looking at chemical security. Cybersecurity will be specifically addressed in one hearing, but there will probably not be any significant discussion of control system security issues. And, of course, there will be no actionable threat information discussed; these are all open hearings. But you never can tell what interesting tidbits might be dropped. The three hearings are:

Countering Violent Islamist Extremism: The Urgent Threat of Foreign Fighters and Homegrown Terror." Committee on Homeland Security Wednesday
State Sponsor of Terror: The Global Threat of Iran Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade (Committee on Foreign Affairs) Wednesday
Emerging Threats and Technologies to Protect the Homeland Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies (Committee on Homeland Security) Thursday

Internet of Things

On Wednesday the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will be holding a hearing on The Connected World: Examining the Internet of Things. This is going to be an anti-regulation hearing as can be seen by the following statement from Chairman Thune:

By engaging early in this debate, Congress can ensure that any government efforts to protect consumers are tailored for actual problems and avoid regulatory overreach.”

Since Thune will be one of the controllers of what cybersecurity legislation will pass in the 114th Congress, the tenor of his questions during this hearing will provide some valuable insight into what kind of legislation on cybersecurity issues we might see coming out of his Committee.

On the Floor

The Senate will continue to play chicken with HR 240, the FY 2015 DHS spending bill. The Republicans obviously don’t have the vote to bring the bill to the floor for a vote and the Democrats don’t have the votes to remove the restrictions on the President’s immigration executive actions. At some point before the February 27th deadline I expect Majority Leader McConnell bring a clean bill to the floor which will pass with a close bipartisan vote.

The House will bring a trio of homeland security related bills to the floor under suspension of rule. Of specific interest to readers of this blog will be HR 710. Rep Jackson-Lee’s (D,TX) bill was introduced last Wednesday and still hasn’t been published by the Government Printing Office. I suspect that it is a repeat of last session’s HR 3202 which passed easily in the House but was not taken up by the Senate. It will pass again this week with large bipartisan support.

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