Thursday, May 20, 2021

HR 3243 Introduced - Pipeline Security Act

Last week Rep Cleaver (D,MO) introduced HR 3243, the Pipeline Security Act. The bill would amend 49 USC 114, specifically charging the Transportation Security Administration with responsibility for pipeline cybersecurity. Additionally, the bill would require the establishment, and outline the responsibilities, of a pipeline security section within TSA.

The Homeland Security Committee considered the bill earlier this week in a markup hearing. After considering and adopting three separate amendments, the bill was ordered reported and favorably recommended to the full House. One of the amendments would raise the status of the TSA pipeline cybersecurity program by changing the ‘section’ to a ‘pipeline security division’.

Moving Forward

The unanimous consent adoption for this bill in Committee would indicate that the bill has strong bipartisan support. That would normally mean that it should move easily to the floor of the House, probably under the suspension of the rules process. Unfortunately, bipartisan support is not all that a bill needs to move forward. In this case there are at least three other committees (the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, the Energy and Commerce Committee, and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee) that think that they should have oversight responsibilities for cybersecurity in pipelines.

The language in this bill would specifically cut them out of the oversight process. That is why the §1631 language was shoehorned into 6 USC Title XVI (the CISA title) instead of in 49 USC where the TSA §114 is. That means that two Committee Chairs and a number of influential congresscritters are going to work hard to stop this bill from moving forward. This chair infighting has delayed a large number of homeland security related initiatives over the years, chemical facility security being a prime example. At this point I do not see the House leadership moving this bill forward.

For a more detailed review of the contents of the bill and the amendments adopted in Committee, see my post (subscription required) on ‘CFSN Detailed Analysis’ on

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