Monday, December 11, 2023

Committee Hearings – Week of 12-10-23

This week, with both the House and Senate in Washington (scheduled last week of the year for both), there is a relatively light hearing schedule as visions of sugarplums dance in congressional heads. Two oversight hearings of note here: Cyber Safety Review Board and BIS.

CSRB Oversight

On Thursday, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Oversight Committee will  hold a hearing on “The Cyber Safety Review Board: Expectations, Outcomes, and Enduring Questions”. No witness list is currently available. It will be interesting to see who gets questioned by the Committee. The CSRB members are a diverse group of government and private sector personnel, and I am sure that the Committee staff could find any manner of other commentators willing to discuss what the CSRB is and/or should be.

BIS Oversight

On Tuesday, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Accountability of the House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on “Reviewing the Bureau of Industry and Security, Part II: U.S. Export Controls in an Era of Strategic Competition”. The witness list includes:

• Matthew S. Axelrod, DOC, and

• Thea D. Rozman Kendler, DOC

Interestingly, both of these witnesses are titled “Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement” working at the Bureau of Industry and Security. For an agency that is supposedly understaffed and underfunded, this a heavy political-appointee load. Written testimony from both witnesses is already available (here and here). Nothing in either testimony discussing the cybersecurity export-controls issues that initially drew my attention to BIS, but BIS rulemakings are sure to have a continued impact on the cybersecurity and control system engineering communities.

On the Floor

The House is scheduled on Tuesday or Wednesday to take up the conference report on HR 2670, the FY 2024 National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate will probably do the same. In both bodies a small number of Republicans oppose the revised version of the bill for ideological reason, and passage is not guaranteed (though appears likely) in either body.

Neither body has any spending bills on the agenda for this week, the House still lacks five of the 12 spending bills and the Senate 9 of the 12. Lots of behind-the-scenes politicking going on, a lot like we see every year. Time constraints and politics may mean an omnibus bill even yet. The Republican fringe in both bodies will have a fit, but the problem is largely of their making due to their blocking of consideration of spending bills.

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