Monday, July 27, 2020

S 4197 Introduced – CFATS Extension

Earlier this month Sen Johnson (R,WI) introduced S 4197, a bill to extend the Chemical Facility6 Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program through July 25th, 2027. This was the third in a series of bills introduced by Johnson to extend that program without legislative changes in the program. This bill was introduced on the same day that the Senate passed S 4148, a shorter-term extension of the CFATS program that was subsequently passed by the House and signed by the President.

Bill Comparison

All three bills were ‘clean’ extensions of the program, with no policy or regulatory changes included in the language. The table shows the two areas of major differences between the three bills.

S 4197
Extension Date
3-R, 2-D
3-R, 2-D

As I noted in my post on S 4096, the only difference between that bill and S 4148 was the removal of some minor, unnecessary effective-date language that had been included in S 4096.

The extension date for both S 4096 and S 4148 were far enough down the road that the affected businesses were appeased because they had some regulatory certainty about the program. More importantly, this date was the soonest that Johnson and his fellow Republicans had a reasonable chance that they might yet again ‘control’ both the House and Senate. The 2027 date would, however, give a much more likely date for that to have occurred.

The extension date is important because Congress has shown little appetite for addressing the CFATS program until the program nears its expiration date. Even with an expiration date fast approaching it has been difficult to get consensus on what changes are necessary. Without the impetus of pending termination, there is little incentive for the different factions to come together on a legislatively workable revision to the program.

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