Thursday, January 10, 2019

Bills Introduced – 01-09-19

Yesterday with both the House and Senate in session there were 89 bills introduced. Of these, three bills will likely receive future mention in this blog:

HR 359 To provide for certain programs and developments in the Department of Energy concerning the cybersecurity and vulnerabilities of, and physical threats to, the electric grid, and for other purposes. Rep. McNerney, Jerry [D-CA-9]

HR 360 To require the Secretary of Energy to establish a voluntary Cyber Sense program to test the cybersecurity of products and technologies intended for use in the bulk-power system, and for other purposes. Rep. Latta, Robert E. [R-OH-5] 

HR 370 To require the Secretary of Energy to carry out a program relating to physical security and cybersecurity for pipelines and liquefied natural gas facilities. Rep. Upton, Fred [R-MI-6] 

Bills Also Worth Mentioning

I am also going to call attention here to six other bills here that would attempt to mitigate the effects of the current Federal Funding Fiasco. I will briefly discuss these bills in this post and will probably not mention them again in this blog.

HR 367 Making appropriations for Coast Guard pay in the event an appropriations Act expires before the enactment of a new appropriations Act. Rep. DeFazio, Peter A. [D-OR-4]

HR 371 Making appropriations for certain Federal employees working during the Government shutdown beginning on or about December 22, 2018, and for other purposes. Rep. Biggs, Andy [R-AZ-5]

HR 374 To make continuing appropriations for Coast Guard pay in the event that appropriations for Coast Guard pay in fiscal year 2019 expire and a new appropriations Act has not been enacted. Rep. Byrne, Bradley [R-AL-1]

HR 419 To make continuing appropriations for the Federal Aviation Administration for fiscal year 2019. Rep. Van Drew, Jefferson [D-NJ-2]

HR 421 Making continuing appropriations for the Coast Guard. Rep. Wild, Susan [D-PA-7] 

S 72 A bill to suspend the enforcement of certain civil liabilities of Federal employees and contractors during a lapse in appropriations, and for other purposes.  Sen. Schatz, Brian [D-HI]

FFF Effect Mitigation

As we quickly approach the 21-day FFF record it is interesting to note the efforts by a wide variety of congresscritters to protect various agencies and employees of the Federal government from the effects of the FFF. At first glance it would seem that these efforts are commendable as they would reduce the suffering of employees who are, after all, bearing the direct brunt of this political foofaraw.

On the other hand, and there is ALWAYS an ‘other hand’ when it comes to politics, I think that these efforts are misguided. While reducing the pain and suffering of these employees would be great for them and their families, it would also serve to reduce the political price for shutting down the government (or portions thereof) and make future shutdowns more likely.

On the first Tuesday in November, 2020, the voters of this country will remember this little game of political hostage taking. The hardcore supporters of both the President and the Democratic leadership of Congress will probably reward them for their intransience, but the vast majority of folks in the center will take revenge for those hurt during this FFF. They will go into the voting booth having decided who was mainly at fault (both sides share at least some portion of the blame) and will vote for their political retirement.

That is as it should be, there should be a high price to pay for using the disruption of the government as a political tool. Unfortunately, any measures taken to reduce the impact of that disruption will lesson the anger of the electorate and thus reduce the price to be paid for this game of political one-up-man-ship.  That could have the unintended consequence of extending the length of the current FFF and increase the chance of a repeat performance in FY 2020.

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