Monday, July 9, 2018

Committee Hearings – Week of 07-08-18

With both the House and Senate in session this week we start to see movement on other things than just spending bills. We have two cybersecurity hearings of potential interest and HR 6237, the FY 2018/19 intel authorization bill.

Spending Bills

• Wednesday – House – Committee - Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
Wednesday – House – Rules Committee – HR 6147 (LHHE)  Amendment Deadline


On Wednesday the House Homeland Security Committee will be holding a hearing on “DHS’s Progress In Securing Election Systems And Other Critical Infrastructure”. The witness list includes:

• Christopher Krebs, DHS; and
Nellie Gorbea, State of Rhode Island

While securing the election process is certainly important it is generally outside of the scope of this blog. I am mentioning this hearing though because of the following statement on the hearing web site:

“The hearing will also provide Members an opportunity to hear about DHS’s role working across all 16 critical infrastructure sectors because a cyber threat to elections may pose a similar threat to other critical infrastructure sectors.”

It will be interesting to hear what questions the Committee has for Krebs.

On Wednesday the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold a hearing on “Complex Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities: Lessons Learned from Spectre and Meltdown”. The witness list includes:

• Donna Dodson, NIST;
• José-Marie Griffiths, Dakota State University;
• Joyce Kim, ARM;
• Art Manion, Carnegie Mellon University; and
• Sri Sridharan, University of South Florida

This is potentially too complex a topic for a congressional hearing. I hope the witnesses take this into account and concentrate on policy type issues instead of the technical details. It will be interesting to see what questions are posed by the Senators; this will reflect on the quality of the technical support the committee has.

Intelligence Authorization Act

On Wednesday the House Rules Committee will hold a hearing to set the rule for the consideration of HR 6237, the Matthew Young Pollard Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019. Thirty-seven amendments have been submitted to the Committee for consideration for inclusion in the debate on HR 6237. None of those amendments should be of specific interest to readers of this blog.

Last year’s version of the bill, HR 3180, finally passed the House under a closed rule (limited debate, no amendments), but was never considered in the Senate. It will be interesting to see how the Committee deals with this bill this year. The bill is scheduled to come to the floor on Thursday.

On the Floor

In addition to HR 3180, the House will also take up HR 5729, the Transportation Worker Identification Credential Accountability Act of 2018. That bill will be considered tomorrow under the suspension of the rules process; limited debate, no amendments, and a super-majority to pass. The bill will almost certainly pass with wide bipartisan support.

As I noted in my post on S 3094, the companion bill to HR 5729, from reading the Committee Report on the bill it is clear that the impetus for proposing this bill was to ‘punish’ DHS and the Coast Guard for ignoring the dictates of Congress. That will not, however, be the basis for the wide spread support for the bill. It provides a wide variety of congress critters a chance to vote against the TWIC program (for an equally wide variety of reasons) without taking any real action to affect the program. They get a show vote for certain constituencies without having to negatively effect a security program. You cannot get a better bill for politicians.

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