June 27, 2014
The House passed HR 4413, the Customer Protection and End User Relief Act, a bill reauthorizing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, as well as three energy bills: HR 6, the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act; HR 3301, the North American Energy Infrastructure Act; and HR 4899, the Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act. The Senate passed HR 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, overhauling and reauthorizing the 1998 Workforce Investment Act(PL 105-220), which expired in 2003. The bill passed by a vote of 95 to 3.
After having to pull the three-bill minibus from the Senate floor last week due to a stalemate over amendments, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) is considering a new strategy in order to have a chance to move the 12 FY15 spending bills before Oct. 1 to avoid a continuing resolution (CR). Mikulski may pair up the bills differently to keep them going, such as adding the popular $71.9 billion Military Construction/Veterans Affairs bill to this minibus. Others are recommending that she bring the non-controversial bills to the floor as single bills eliminating the hurdle of getting unanimous consent to combine multiple measures into one legislative vehicle. While Mikulski hasn’t agreed to this single bill strategy, she is considering offering the FY15 Military Construction/Veterans Affairs bill as a stand-alone measure. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), Ranking Republican on the committee predicted a CR through Nov 15.
On the House side, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers’ (R-KY) timeline for passage has also slipped. Rogers originally wanted all bills passed on the House floor before the August recess. He is now saying his goal is to have them all passed out of committee before the recess. Floor consideration of the House spending bills slowed after Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) lost his primary race and set off a Republican leadership shake-up. While there was some talk about returning to the FY15 Agriculture spending bill that was set aside when Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) lost his primary election, House leaders are now saying that they will turn to the FY15 Energy and Water spending bill when they return from the July 4th recess.
The House Appropriations full committee approved their $21.3 billion FY15 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill this week and reported it out of committee by a vote of 28 to 21. The bill provides annual funding for the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and several other agencies. The bill is $566 million below the FY14 enacted level and $2.3 billion below the President’s FY15 budget request.
While the bill does not include a pay raise for federal workers in FY15, it also does not specifically prohibit one. If enacted, this would allow the president to determine a pay raise based on the Employment Cost Index. The bill does prohibit pay raises for senior political appointees. The president had recommended a 1% pay raise for federal workers in his FY15 budget request.
Six amendments were adopted during full committee markup: a manager’s amendment and amendments requiring the postal service to deliver mail six days a week, prohibiting funding in the bill to require the disclosure of private email information by ISPs without a criminal warrant, prohibiting the District of Columbia from using local funds for the decriminalization of marijuana, altering the Dodd Frank law in order with respect to safe swap activities, and prohibiting funding for abortions through OPM-negotiated “multi-state qualified health plans” offered under Obamacare.
House appropriators also used the bill as an opportunity to express their concern that the FCC is “overstepping its jurisdiction” by getting involved in cybersecurity and that it “believes the FCC should be concerned with things that are strictly within its jurisdiction and not attempt regulatory overreach.” This cautionary report language follows a letter sent by Reps. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Mike Pompeo (R-KS) earlier this month in response to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s speech at AEI, in which he unveiled a new cybersecurity approach for the nation’s communications networks and warned communication companies to take cybersecurity more seriously if they want to avoid new regulations on their networks.
State Foreign Operations
The full House Appropriations Committee marked up its $48.3 billion FY15 State Foreign Operations bill this week. The bill is $707.6 million less than the FY14 enacted level and $276.5 million less than the president’s FY15 budget request. Within this amount, Overseas Contingency Operations are funded at $5.9 billion for supporting operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, as well as stabilization and humanitarian efforts in areas of conflict around the globe. The bill required the administration to provide a detailed strategy for assistance to Egypt while providing $1.3 billion in military aid and $250 million in economic aid to the country. Appropriators also provided $1 billion for Iraq.
Four amendments were passed during the full committee markup: a manager’s amendment and amendments adding language related to health care coverage covering abortion costs for Peace Corps volunteers who become pregnant as a result of rape or whose lives would be endangered by the pregnancy, renaming a street in DC after Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, and encouraging USAID to provide humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, with emphasis on agricultural assistance to rural women. The committee rejected efforts by Democrats to scale back military aid for Egypt and to boost funds for reproductive health.
The Senate Financial Services Appropriations subcommittee marked up its $22.673 billion FY15 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill. The bill provides $607 million more than the FY14 enacted level and $1.1 billion less than the President’s FY15 budget request. A full committee markup for the bill has not been scheduled and may not happen anytime soon.
The Senate marked up their $39.2 billion FY15 Department of Homeland Security spending bill in subcommittee and full committee this week and approved it by voice vote. The bill provides $643 million more than the FY14 enacted level, but $220 million less than the House version. Under the legislation, ICE would receive $5.5 billion, which is $149 million above the president’s request and $106 million below FY14; CBP would get $12.6 billion, coming in $18 million below the budget request and $480 million above FY14 enacted levels, and the Coast Guard would receive $8.6 billion. The bill also includes $213 million for Coast Guard OCO funding and $6.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund. The committee directed more funding than the House for the Coast Guard and Transportation Security Administration as DHS Appropriations subcommittee chairman Mary Landrieu (D-LA) said that she disagreed with the president’s deep cuts to the Coast Guard in his FY15 budget request. The bill allocates nearly $11 million more than the administration’s FY15 request for cybersecurity. Of the $1.213 billion allocated to the National Protection and Programs Directorate’s Infrastructure Protection and Information Security Program, $757 million is included for cybersecurity protection of federal networks and incident response, $10.9 million more than what was requested and more than what was allocated in the House-passed version. Like the House, Senate appropriators directed more funding than the President requested for the child migration crisis along the southern U.S. border. They proposed a $2 hike in customs fees to fund additional Customs and Border Protection officers and called for an extra 1,000 immigration detention beds, as well as a new center that would enable immigrant families to stay together during detention. During the full committee markup, the committee adopted a manager’s package that included provisions requiring DHS to report on how well it is working to keep families of illegal immigrants in detention facilities that are not run by CBP or ICE, directing DHS to detail to Congress any times its drones have crashed, and requiring DHS to report on the Coast Guard’s work in the last three years responding to oil discharges in the Gulf of Mexico. They also passed an amendment offered by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) that would treat Presidential fire disaster declarations and disaster declarations the same way only in this fiscal year giving FEMA more flexibility in FY15 to cover the costs of preventing future wildfires in areas stricken by disaster.
Overseas Contingency Operations
The White House submitted its $65.8B FY15 Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget request to Congress this week. The request includes $58.6B for DOD OCO ($20.9B less than the $79.4B placeholder submitted in March) and $1.4B for State/OIP. In addition to funding for the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan and DOD’s supporting presence in the broader region, the OCO submission seeks congressional support for the new $5 billion Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund (CTPF) and $1 billion for the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI). The Administration indicated earlier this year that they want to expand the scope of the OCO fund requesting funding for worldwide counterterrorism and European security efforts.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) was not pleased yesterday that he read about the Administration’s OCO budget request in the news prior to receiving the details himself. In a press release, McKeon said that his committee would have a number of questions for the administration after they have received the budget request on equipment reset funding levels and how the new counterterrorism fund differs from existing initiatives.
The Senate Defense Appropriations subcommittee will mark up their FY15 Defense spending bill in subcommittee on July 17 and could work quickly over the next few weeks to draft the OCO section. The House has already passed their FY15 Defense spending bill and may wait until conference to sort out the OCO section with the Senate. On the authorizing side, the HASC’s FY15 NDAA passed the full House but the SASC’s FY15 bill is awaiting floor action. The Senate could do a floor amendment to make their adjustments if/when they take their bill to the Senate floor. And then HASC would wait to work it out in conference. In the meantime, HASC does plan on holding hearings and requesting administration officials to testify.
A copy of the FY15 OCO Budget Request can be found at:
FY2015 Appropriations Bill Status
|Appropriations Subcommittee||House Action||Senate Action|
|Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA and Related Agencies||Subcommittee: May 20
Full Committee: May 29
|Subcommittee: May 20
Full Committee: May 22
|Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies||Subcommittee: April 30
Full Committee: May 8
House Floor: May 29
|Subcommittee: June 3
Full Committee: June 5
|Defense||Subcommittee: May 30
Full Committee: June 10
Floor: June 20
|Subcommittee: July 17|
|Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies||Subcommittee: June 10
Full Committee: June 18
House Floor: Week of July 7
|Subcommittee: June 17
Full Committee: postponed
|Financial Services and General Government||Subcommittee: June 18
Full Committee: June 25
|Subcommittee: June 24|
|Homeland Security||Subcommittee: May 28
Full Committee: June 11
|Subcommittee: June 24
Full Committee: June 26
|Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies||Subcommittee: June 10
Full Committee: postponed
|Legislative Branch||Subcommittee: April 3
Full Committee: April 9
Floor: May 1
|Full Committee: June 19|
|Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies||Subcommittee: April 3
Full Committee: April 9
Floor: April 30
|Subcommittee: May 20
Full Committee: May 22
|State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs||Subcommittee: June 17
Full Committee: June 24
|Subcommittee: June 17
Full Committee: June 19
|Transportation, HUD, and Related Agencies||Subcommittee: May 7
Full Committee: May 21
Floor: June 10
|Subcommittee: June 3
Full Committee: June 5
The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee marked up and reported out of committee a number of bills this week.
S 2521 Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA) of 2014
The FISMA of 2014 updates the FISMA of 2002 and better delineates the roles and responsibilities of OMB and DHS. It also empowers DHS to issue “binding operational directives” containing requirements for the mitigation of exigent risks and incident reporting, and moves the agencies away from paperwork-heavy processes toward real-time and automated security. The bill passed by voice vote.
S 2519 National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) Act of 2014
The NCCIC Act of 2014 formally codifies the 24-hour cybersecurity and communications operations center within DHS, and calls on the center to serve as the federal civilian information sharing interface for cybersecurity information and analysis, incidence response, and recommendations for security measures to improve cybersecurity. Sen. Johnson (R-WI) offered an amendment to not grant additional regulatory or rulemaking authority to DHS. The amendment passed by voice vote with 2 no votes. Sen. Landrieu (D-LA) expressed concern about the NCCIC and other cybersecurity assets all being located “inside the beltway” in Washington, DC stating that we are vulnerable if DC is targeted. While her concern was noted, no amendment was offered. The bill passed by voice vote.
While Senate HSGAC Chairman Tom Carper (D-DE) was pleased with the committee’s progress on this cybersecurity legislation, he said that they still have more work to do including further clarifying DHS’ role in working with the private sector on cybersecurity matters including specifying the rules for the road for DHS interacting with private critical infrastructure. Carper also called for updating the 2002 DHS act to clarify who is responsible in DHS for cybersecurity, continuing to improve R&D for cybersecurity, and the need to codify the EINSTEIN program.
S 1691 Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act of 2013
The committee passed S 1691 the Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act of 2013 by a vote of 9 to 0. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute that would allow the border patrol to classify jobs within three pay schedule options that allow for 20 hours of overtime, 10 hours of overtime, or no overtime per two-week period. The bill also requires CBP to assess its staffing needs at every post along the border and estimate the funding needed to fulfill those needs. GAO would oversee those assessments. Sen. Coburn (R-OK) offered an amendment that would make a Border Patrol Agent ineligible for overtime if 50% or more of their time is being used in an official capacity for union activities. The amendment failed in a vote of 6 to 9. Coburn offered another amendment requiring that Border Patrol agents that are not in the field receive the basic pay rate. Tester modified the amendment with a second degree amendment that they would start with the Coburn approach, but if CBP determined that more hours were needed than the 80 hour work cap would be lifted. The modified amendment passed by voice vote.
HR 1232 Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act
The committee also passed HR 1232, the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act, in which Sen. Coburn offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute as base text. The bill empowers CIOs at 24 key agencies to be responsible and accountable for how the agency acquires its IT systems and programs; codifies the government-wide IT dashboard which publicly shows the metrics for IT; codifies the PortfolioStat process OMB put in place a few years ago; and includes the language included in S 1611 to ensure that the administration’s data center consolidation is seen through to its conclusion. The bill was passed by voice vote.
S 2061 Preventing Conflicts of Interest with Contractors Act
The committee also passed S 2061, the Preventing Conflicts of Interest with Contractors Act, which is intended to prevent contractors from reviewing their own work for background checks. Sen. Coburn said he had some problems with the bill so he opposed it but promised to work with Sen. Tester to improve the bill before floor consideration.
S 1347 the Conference Accountability Act of 2013
Action on S 1347 the Conference Accountability Act of 2013 was postponed as Sen. Levin (D-MI) asked the committee to wait to have more debate on the measure and get comments from OMB before marking it up.
The Senate Intelligence Committee cancelled the tentative markup of their Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) this week. The markup was postponed until sometime after July 4th recess citing that too many members’ travel schedules would have conflicted with a markup. Committee members are hopeful that it might come up the week of July 7. The draft CISA bill has drawn criticism from both industry groups and privacy advocates. The ACLU, CDT, EFF, and others sent a letter to senators on Thursday stating concerns that the bill would create a loophole in privacy law allowing the government to ask companies to voluntarily turn over customer information, which could then be used in criminal investigations. They also argue that the bill is a threat to whistleblowers and lacks adequate transparency measures.
A copy of the bill can be found at:
The Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration published an interim rule in the Federal Register this week on the limitation on allowable government contractor compensation costs. The rule amends the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement section 702 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. Section 702 of the law set the initial limitation on allowable contractor and subcontractor employee compensation costs at $487,000 per year, which will be adjusted annually to reflect the change in the Employment Cost Index for all workers as calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The interim rule also implements the possible exception to this allowable cost limit for scientists, engineers, or other specialists if such exceptions are needed to ensure that the executive agency has continued access to needed skills and capabilities. Interested parties can submit written comments on the interim rule to he Regulatory Secretariat on or before August 25, 2014 to be considered in the formulation of a final rule.
FY14 Intelligence Authorization
The House agreed to a Senate-passed FY14 Intelligence Authorization Act (S 1681) in a voice vote Tuesday night sending the bill to the President for his signature. The bill funds major cyber priorities authorizing funding for cyber-defense priorities and NSA surveillance of foreign intelligence. It also mandates ramped up insider threat detection to spot intelligence leakers such as former contractor Edward Snowden and requires the Director of National Intelligence to study the possibility of replacing manual security clearances with continuous evaluation procedures that would monitor employees and contractors’ public and government records to spot suspicious behavior. The bill also gives the DNI six months to deliver a report describing any critical gaps in education and workforce training in cybersecurity and other technology fields. The House and Senate have yet to agree on an FY15 intelligence authorization bill.
While Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), Ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee trailed his primary challenger Chris McDaniel in a primary earlier this month, Cochran was able to garner the necessary 51% of the vote to avoid another runoff. If Republicans take over the Senate next year, Cochran would be in line to reclaim chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), member of the House Ways and Means Committee, also survived a primary challenge this week in a rematch with state Sen. Adriano Espaillat. Rangel beat Espaillat 47% to 44% and appears to be on his way to winning his 23rd term in Congress in November.
In the Republican primary in Oklahoma’s special election to replace Tom Coburn, Republican Rep. James Lankford won the nomination amid a crowded GOP field. Lankford beat Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon and captured 56% of the vote to avoid a runoff in August. Lankford is expected to cruise to a victory in the deep-red state’s general election this fall.
The Senate Budget and Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committees approved the nomination of Shaun Donovan to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget by a vote of 9 to 1. Donovan is currently serving as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The full Senate is expected to vote on the nomination when they return from their July 4 recess.
The Senate confirmed Leon Rodriguez to be Director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services at the Department of Homeland Security by a vote of 53 to 43 this week. The Senate also approved the nominations of Jessica Garfola Wright to be Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and Jamie Michael Morin to be Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation.
The Republic National Committee announced this week that Cleveland and Dallas are the two finalists to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. A selection committee voted Wednesday to eliminate Denver and Kansas City from contention after visiting all four cities. Democrats are in the earlier stages of choosing the location of their convention. Six cities submitted bids prior to this month’s deadline: Birmingham, AL.; Cleveland, OH; Columbus, OH; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; and Phoenix, AZ.
The Pentagon’s top procurement policy official, Richard Ginman, is retiring after a 40-year-career that spanned both the private and public sectors. Grinnan is a retired Navy rear admiral who became DoD’s director for defense procurement and acquisition policy in 2011, when DoD decided to split the office into two divisions. Before that, Ginman was DoD’s deputy director for contingency and acquisition policy after having served in several high-level civilian acquisition leadership roles within the Navy.
Former Senate Majority Leader and Chief of Staff to President Ronald Reagan Howard Baker (R-TN) died yesterday. Baker was first elected to the Senate in 1966 and retired in 1984 returning to practicing law in Tennessee.
The House and Senate are in recess next week.
28 Days Left…What Gets Done?
As we head into the July 4th recess with only 28 days of session left on the congressional calendar before the November elections, the question is what legislation will get passed this year?
12 FY15 Appropriations Bills or a Continuing Resolution
FY15 National Defense Authorization Act
Veterans Affairs Reform
Cybersecurity – CISPA and CISA
Data Breach Notifications