Washington Weekly – July 18, 2014

July 18, 2014 

The House passed HR 5021, the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014; HR 5016, the FY2015 Financial Services Appropriations bill; HR 4719, the Fighting Hunger Incentive Act of 2014; and HR 3086, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act barring the government from taxing users for access to the Internet and ending taxes in seven states that were grandfathered in the initial moratorium. The Senate confirmed Cheryl LaFleur and Norman Bay to serve as members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, David Shear to be an Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, David Mader to be Controller in the Office of Federal Financial Management at OMB, and Paul Jaenichen to be Administrator of the Maritime Administration. The Senate also passed S 517, the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, which restores an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) permitting consumer users to “unlock” their cell phones when their contract expires, as well as S 2244, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2014. The Senate began consideration of the Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act (S 2578), but was unable to invoke cloture on the measure. The bill was a response to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision and would have prevented employers from refusing to cover contraception, among other things, for employees and their dependents.

FY2015 Appropriations

House

House Floor – Financial Services

The FY15 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill was considered and passed on the House floor by a vote of 228 to 195 on July 16. The $20.2 billion measure is the seventh appropriations bill to pass the House this year, and is the first time since 2007 that the House has passed the bill as a stand-alone measure. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) noted that the House is more than halfway done with their FY15 bills while the Senate has not passed any. The White House responded to the bill’s passage with a veto threat in a Statement of Administration policy, objecting to steep cuts to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), reductions in financial regulatory oversight, and policy riders aimed at the District of Columbia, including limiting abortion, decriminalizing marijuana. and enforcing a handgun ban. One notable amendment offered by Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA) would prohibit the use of funds to penalize financial institutions in specified states that provide financial services to manufacturers, producers or persons who handle marijuana/marijuana products in states where it is legal. The amendment passed by a vote of 231 to 192.

Interior

The House Appropriations full committee marked up and reported out of committee its $30.2 billion FY15 Interior and Environment spending bill. The committee approved the bill by a vote of 29 to 19. The bill provides $4.1 billion to prevent and fight wildfires, including $470 million for the Forest Service to cover the unexpected FY14 shortfall in suppression funding, but does not include the additional $615 million in emergency spending President Obama recently requested. It cuts funding for the EPA by 9% compared to FY14, funding the agency at $7.5 billion. During the markup, there were several attempts at removing language from the bill that would block the EPA from implementing several controversial regulations, including carbon pollution limits on new and existing power plants.

Senate

Defense

The Senate Appropriations Committee marked up their $489.6 billion FY15 Defense appropriations bill in subcommittee and full committee this week. The bill also provides $58.3 billion in emergency funding for the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. The bill was approved by voice vote on Thursday after the committee adopted a managers’ amendment as well as three amendments offered by Sens. Harkin (D-IA), Murkowski (R-AK), and Merkley (D-OR). The committee rejected (by a vote of 9 to 21) an amendment offered by Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) that would have struck a provision in bill to train and equip members of the Syrian Opposition Forces and redirected the funding to “more effective” counterterrorism efforts.

The bill blocks many of the cuts proposed by the Administration for FY15 and added funding to several programs including $1.3 billion for 12 E/A-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft, $848 million to refuel the USS George Washington aircraft carrier, $125 million to accelerate competition on the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, and $250 million to continue production of the Army’s Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles. The bill also maintains operations of the A-10 “Warthog” attack jet fleet. To meet budget caps while funding these priorities as well as a 1% pay raise for the civilian workforce, the committee made cuts to 517 programs for a total savings of $11.7 billion.

The bill includes a provision that prohibits the DOD from awarding contracts to companies that seek to avoid paying taxes in the United States — a move that would affect nine “inverted” companies that currently do business with the department, as well as provisions urging the Defense secretary to “reassess the value of an alternate engine program” following a June 23 engine fire that led to the temporary grounding of the entire F-35 fleet. The report also recommends the Pentagon conduct an independent cost analysis of Army’s controversial aviation restructuring plan, which the service believes will save $11.9 billion.

The National Security Agency would be required to prepare an unclassified report on all NSA bulk collection activities, including when such activities began, the cost of such activities, what types of records have been collected in the past, what types of records are currently being collected, and any plans for future bulk collection.Another unclassified report is required to provide “a list of terrorist activities that were disrupted, in whole or in part, with the aid of information obtained through NSA’s telephone metadata program.”

Cybersecurity funding was increased in the bill over the $8.63 billion requested by the administration, including $7.5 million for NSA cyber programs, $10 million for insider threat detection in the Defense Department, $7.5 million to support classified cyber-related research by the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research, and personnel increases for intelligence and cyber mission areas. The bill also gives the Defense Department six months to produce a report on cyber training throughout the military.

The bill adds $25 million each for the Army, Navy and Air Force for alternative energy research that is contributing to reduced emissions, and encourages DoD to continue aggressively planning for the effects of climate change, particularly in regard to the Arctic, adding $5 million to Arctic Domain Awareness programs at DARPA.

A copy of the Senate FY15 Defense Appropriations Report can be found at:

http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/?p=235

Emergency Supplemental Request

The White House submitted a $3.7 billion emergency supplemental spending request to Congress last week, which included $1.1 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, $433 million for Customs and Border Protection, $64 million for the Department of Justice for additional immigration judge teams, $300 million for the State Department and other international programs to support repatriation and reintegration efforts in Central America, and $1.8 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services to provide care for unaccompanied children. The question now is when will Congress pass an emergency spending measure. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson warned last week that Immigration and Customs Enforcement will run out of money by mid-August and Customs and Border Protection will run out of funds by mid-September.

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) said this week that the plan in the House is to move a single bill that provides both policy changes and supplemental funding. Republicans formed a working group tasked with making policy recommendations in response to the border crisis. Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) chairs the task force and admitted this week that it is taking the group longer than anticipated to finalize their recommendations. The group is pushing for increased border security funding, the use of National Guard troops on the border, and the installation of more immigration judges to preside over deportation hearings and asylum requests. As for the funding, Appropriators are selecting parts of the President’s $3.7B request including funds for border security, humanitarian assistance and prevention. However, it is unclear how much funding would be allocated in the House bill, and whether or not the funding would be considered “emergency” funding not requiring an offset. There has been some discussion among House Republicans that the funding be less than half of what the President requested or around $1.5B, and that it only be for calendar year 2014.

On the Senate side, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) indicated that she would like to fully fund the White House’s $3.7 billion supplemental appropriations request and she rejected Republican calls to offset any supplemental spending with corresponding cuts to discretionary programs.

While House leaders hope to move forward before the August recess, given the differences between the two sides on their approaches, the prospects for each chamber passing legislation and then conferencing the differences before the August recess seems to be a tall order.

FY2015 Appropriations Bill Status

Appropriations Subcommittee House Action Senate Action
Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA and Related Agencies Subcommittee: May 20

Full Committee: May 29

Floor: postponed

Subcommittee: May 20

Full Committee: May 22

Floor: postponed

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee: April 30

Full Committee: May 8

House Floor: May 29

Subcommittee: June 3

Full Committee: June 5

Floor: postponed

Defense Subcommittee: May 30

Full Committee: June 10

Floor: June 20

Subcommittee: July 15

Full Committee: July 17

Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee: June 10

Full Committee: June 18

House Floor: July 10

Subcommittee: June 17

Full Committee: postponed

Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee: June 18

Full Committee: June 25

Floor: July 16

Subcommittee: June 24
Homeland Security Subcommittee: May 28

Full Committee: June 11

Subcommittee: June 24

Full Committee: June 26

Interior Subcommittee: July 9

Full Committee: July 15

 
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

Floor: postponed

Defense

Department of Defense FY2014 Reprogramming Request

The Department of Defense (DOD) submitted a reprogramming request to Congress on July 10, seeking Congress’ approval for shifting $4.3 billion in FY14 funds to cover high priority programs. Some members of Congress, including Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) have criticized the request stating that DOD was initiating new programs that Congress has not endorsed. The request benefits several programs including $100 million for the Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program; $111 million to procure 21 UH-72 Lakota Light Utility Helicopters for Army pilot training; and $220 million to maintain Navy surface ships that have deployed longer than planned. The increases are offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget including a $66 million reduction in the CH-47 Chinook helicopter upgrade program and a $73 million cut in the Paladin artillery vehicle initiative. The Air Force also would spend $103 million less on aircraft spare parts. Both the House and Senate Appropriations committees as well as the House and Senate Armed Services committees must approve the request. A copy of the request can be found at:

http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/?p=234

Air Force HQ Organization Changes

Air Force leaders announced changes to their headquarters staff manning and organization this week, which include deactivating and realigning organizations at headquarters Air Force, major commands (MAJCOMs), numbered air forces, and field operating agencies.

The changes are expected to result in savings of $1.6 billion across the Air Force over the next five years. The efficiencies created through the reorganization will also help meet the Department of Defense’s directive to reduce costs and staff levels by at least 20%, eliminating 3,459 positions at headquarters across the Air Force, both in country and at overseas locations. As part of ongoing cost savings initiatives, the Air Force will also continue to reduce contract spending, operating budgets and travel expenditures.

To minimize the effect on civilian personnel, the Air Force is initiating Voluntary Early Retirement Authority programs and Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay to foster voluntary reductions before pursuing involuntary measures. Military members were also offered a variety of voluntary incentive programs.

The largest initiative will include centralizing policy and oversight of installation and mission support activities within a newly created Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center (AFIMSC), which will report to Air Force Materiel Command. Execution will remain at the local level. Support functions are currently spread across the MAJCOMs’ staffs. There will also be changes to the headquarters Air Force staff organization by splitting Operations, Plans and Requirements (A3/5) and Strategic Plans and Programs (A8) and reorganizing them into the new Operations (A3) organization, which will stand alone and merge the planning staffs into the new A5/8 organization. And, the current programming functions from A8 will be merged into the service’s financial management organization (FM). The Air Force will also realign several functions that currently report to the headquarters and realign some field operating agencies to operational MAJCOMs, merge Field Operation Agencies (FOAs) with similar missions and deactivate others. Finally, the Air Force Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency will be realigned from headquarters Air Force as a FOA to become part of a new operational numbered air force under Air Combat Command.

Cybersecurity

The Administration released new cross-agency priority goals on their Performance.gov website this week requiring agency chief information officers to focus on the 2015 priorities of information security continuous monitoring mitigation, strengthening anti-phishing and malware defenses, and improving authorization processes through personal identity verification (PIV).

A copy of the Administration’s Cross Agency Priority Goal: Cybersecurity FY2014 Q2 Status Update can be found at:

http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/?p=233

Political Updates

Secretary of State John Kerry chose Robert Papp as the first special representative to the Arctic region, part of a plan to prepare for the US to become chair of the Arctic Council in 2015. Papp retired in May as commandant of the Coast Guard. Secretary Kerry also named Alaska’s former lieutenant governor, Fran Ulmer, as a special adviser on Arctic science and policy. Ulmer chaired the US Arctic Research Commission during the Obama administration. The Arctic Council is made up of eight nations that reach into the Arctic Circle; the US touches the Arctic Circle in Alaska. The Arctic Council aims to protect the thawing region as its seas open to commercial shipping traffic.

EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe announced this week that he is leaving his post in August to become president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES). The post may not be filled quickly as EPA nominations usually incur a bit of scrutiny during the Senate confirmation process, even more so now in the wake of EPA’s controversial rule limiting carbon pollution from power plants. And if Republicans take control of the Senate next year, the position may never be filled.

President Obama nominated Joseph Nimmich to be Deputy Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Chip Fulghum to be Chief Financial Officer at the Department of Homeland Security, and Alissa Starzak to be General Counsel of the Department of the Army.

Next Week

The House will consider HR 3136, the Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act; HR 4984, the Empowering Students through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act; HR 3393, the Student and Family Tax Simplification Act; and HR 4935, the Child Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2014. The House may also consider legislation to address the growing crisis on the border as well as the reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. The Senate may take up S 2609 the Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act and S 5021, the Highway and Transportation Funding Act.

Washington Weekly – July 11, 2014

July 11, 2014

The House passed the FY15 Energy and Water Appropriations Act, a bill amending the Internal Revenue Code to make permanent a tax break for equipment and other asset purchases by businesses, and HR 803 the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. HR 803 authorizes $58B over six years for federal workforce development programs. It was amended and passed by the Senate in June and now goes to the President for his signature. In the Senate, action on S 2363, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act stalled on the floor on Thursday. The bill reauthorizes conservation programs and expands public land for hunters and anglers. The motion to invoke cloture failed by a vote of 41 to 56 with all 26 Republican cosponsors of the bill voting against cloture. The Senate did confirm the nominations of Shaun Donovan to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget and Julian Castro to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

FY2015 Appropriations

House

Energy & Water

The House passed their $30.4B FY15 Energy and Water appropriations bill this week by a vote of 253 to 170. The bill boosts funding for the Energy Department’s fossil energy programs while slashing renewable energy funds by about $111 million. A number of amendments were passed including restricting the use of climate change data by the administration, adding $500,000 to the Energy Information Administration’s budget, blocking DOE from spending money to enforce efficiency standards for incandescent bulbs, preventing spending cash on consolidating or closing DOE’s National Energy Technology Lab or putting the facility’s operations into contractor hands, and prohibiting the use of federal funds to award grants or provide funding for high-efficiency toilets or indoor water-efficient toilets.

The House also rejected several amendments including one offered by Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) that would have stripped $150M in the bill for continuing the development of the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. They also rejected several amendments that would have restored funding for renewable energy projects, prohibiting funds in the bill from being used at DOE’s loan office, and a 1-percent across-the-board cut.

The White House issued a veto threat in a Statement of Administration Policy citing concerns with funding levels (cuts to renewable energy programs) and policy riders (restrictions on cooperation with Russia on nonproliferation programs). The companion bill in the Senate stalled last month in committee when Republicans threatened to offer amendments on the administration’s carbon emissions regulations for existing power plants.

Labor HHS Education

The House Labor HHS Education Appropriations Subcommittee chairman Jack Kingston (R-GA) said this week that the outlook for marking up his $155.7 billion bill is uncertain as there are “people on both sides of the philosophical fence [who] have very intense views that are opposed to each other.” The chairman of the full committee, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) said that he still hopes that the bill is marked up before the August recess, but a markup has not been scheduled yet. The House and Senate allocations are $1.1 billion apart compared to the $42 billion difference last year. Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) cancelled a planned full committee markup of their FY15 Labor HHS bill last month due to concerns about potential Republican amendments on the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). On the House side, Kingston is competing in a July 22 Republican primary runoff in Georgia for the open Senate seat, which may be further complicating the timing of consideration of this bill.

Interior-Environment

The House Interior-Environment Appropriations subcommittee marked up their $30.2B FY15 spending bill this week cutting funding for the EPA by 9% from FY14 and holding the agency’s staffing levels to the lowest levels since 1989. The bill also prevents the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants. The full House Appropriations Committee will mark up the bill next Tuesday where Democrats are expected to push back against some of these cuts and policy riders.

Senate

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee acknowledged this week that while she would prefer to pass all twelve annual spending bills individually, time is running short and she is considering an omnibus spending measure. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had initially promised to set aside two weeks in July for consideration of the spending bills on the floor, but his most recent agenda did not include any appropriations bills. And Senate leaders had to pull their first three-bill minibus appropriations package from the floor last month due to a dispute over amendments. Chairwoman Mikulski said she still plans on using that floor time if she can find a path forward on amendments.

Emergency Supplemental Request

The White House submitted a $3.7 billion emergency supplemental spending request to Congress this week. The request included $1.1 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, $433 million for Customs and Border Protection, $64 million for the Department of Justice for additional immigration judge teams, $300 million for the State Department and other international programs to support repatriation and reintegration efforts in Central America, and $1.8 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services to provide care for unaccompanied children. The request was in response to the backlog of deportation cases that has built as more than 50,000 unaccompanied minors have entered the country illegally this fiscal year.

The Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing on the request this week, where some lawmakers expressed concerns over whether this is a start of a new trend of emergency funding requests. They were also concerned by the lack of details on how the additional funding would speed up the processing of the detained migrants and a potential lack of accountability with so many agencies involved. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) said he will talk to Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Mikulski next week to get his bill to overhaul the Border Patrol pay system (S 1691) added to this potential border security supplemental.

It is unclear how the House or Senate will consider the emergency funding request, but one possibility is if a continuing resolution (CR) is passed to keep the government running beginning Oct. 1, a supplemental could be combined with the CR. Conservatives who might oppose the supplemental on its own may be inclined to vote for the CR package to avoid a government shutdown. However, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson warned Senators at the hearing that if the supplemental is not passed before the August recess, that his agency would be forced to reprogram funding from other vital Homeland Security programs to address the crisis.

Next week

Next week the House is due to take up the FY15 Financial Services spending bill on the House floor. The bill will be considered under an open rule, meaning that members can offer any amendments. The House Appropriations Committee will consider the FY15 Interior appropriations bill in full committee on Tuesday. And on the Senate side, the FY15 Defense Appropriations bill is scheduled to be marked up in subcommittee on Tuesday and full committee on Thursday.

FY2015 Appropriations Bill Status

Appropriations Subcommittee House Action Senate Action
Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA and Related Agencies Subcommittee: May 20Full Committee: May 29Floor: postponed Subcommittee: May 20Full Committee: May 22Floor: postponed
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee: April 30Full Committee: May 8House Floor: May 29 Subcommittee: June 3Full Committee: June 5Floor: postponed
Defense Subcommittee: May 30Full Committee: June 10Floor: June 20 Subcommittee: July 15Full Committee: July 17
Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee: June 10Full Committee: June 18House Floor: July 10 Subcommittee: June 17Full Committee: postponed
Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee: June 18Full Committee: June 25Floor: Week of July 14 Subcommittee: June 24
Homeland Security Subcommittee: May 28Full Committee: June 11 Subcommittee: June 24Full Committee: June 26
Interior Subcommittee: July 9Full Committee: July 15
Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee: June 10Full Committee: postponed
Legislative Branch Subcommittee: April 3Full Committee: April 9Floor: May 1 Full Committee: June 19
Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee: April 3Full Committee: April 9Floor: April 30 Subcommittee: May 20Full Committee: May 22
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee: June 17Full Committee: June 24 Subcommittee: June 17Full Committee: June 19
Transportation, HUD, and Related Agencies Subcommittee: May 7Full Committee: May 21Floor: June 10 Subcommittee: June 3Full Committee: June 5Floor: postponed

Homeland Security

On Tuesday, the House passed the following three homeland security related bills on the floor under suspension of the rules:

  • HR 4007, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Program Authorization and Accountability Act of 2014 codifying and strengthening DHS’ CFATS program, which issues and enforces security standards for high-risk chemical facilities.
  • HR 4263, the Social Media Working Group Act of 2014 authorizing DHS to establish a social media working group.
  • HR 4289, the Department of Homeland Security Interoperable Communications Act addressing the recommendations of a November 2012 DHS IG report, which found that DHS lacks an effective governance structure to ensure interoperable communications among its components.
  • HR 3488, the Preclearance Authorization Act of 2014 establishing the conditions under which the Secretary of DHS may establish preclearance facilities, conduct preclearance operations, and provide customs services outside the U.S.

Cybersecurity

S 2588 Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act

The Senate Intelligence Committee marked up S 2588, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014 earlier this week passing it out of committee by a vote of 12 to 3 in a closed markup. Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) opposed the bill citing concerns of privacy advocates. The bill:

  • Requires the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to increase the sharing of classified and unclassified cyber threat information to the private sector, consistent with the protection of sources and methods.
  • Requires federal government procedures for the receipt, sharing and use of cyber information. This includes the establishment of a “portal” managed by DHS through which electronic cyber information will enter the government and be shared with other appropriate federal entities.
  • Puts in place liability protections for individuals and companies that appropriately monitor their networks or share cyber information.

The draft CISA bill has drawn criticism from both industry groups and privacy advocates who are concerned 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.

Seven amendments were adopted during the markup including a manager’s package to the bill. One amendment that was offered by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) added compliance with Fair Information Practice Principles language to the bill. Privacy groups said the addition of that language still wouldn’t do enough to safeguard privacy because it lacks requirements that the government take additional steps to protect sensitive information after it’s shared.

Supporters of the bill say they can get it through conference with the House-passed version, CISPA, and get something to the president’s desk if the Senate can act on its piece before recess – but hurdles from opponents remain. Supporters hope that if NSA reform passes (no certainty on that happening), some of that opposition will ease. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has not indicated if and when the bill might get called for a vote on the floor. It may be a tough privacy vote for vulnerable Democrats right before the election. And, it is unclear if Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-DE) would want to hold a hearing on the bill before it goes to the floor as his committee could claim jurisdiction.

A copy of the bill can be found at:

http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/?p=227

NIST New Internet of Things Cyber Framework

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced the development and implementation of a new cybersecurity framework dedicated to cyber-physical systems, otherwise known as the Internet of Things. The working group will release a road map by early 2015 and complete it by summer 2015. They will also release a cyber-physical systems framework by Spring 2015. The announcement came during NIST’s first meeting (via webinar) of their cyber-physical systems working group. The overall goal of the working group is to develop a cross-industry approach to designing and implementing cyber-physical technologies that have a robust cybersecurity structure.

Political Updates

The Senate on Wednesday voted to confirm San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to be secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The vote was 71 to 26. His nomination was supported by many Republicans and he faced little to no opposition. Castro will replace Shaun Donovan, who was confirmed by the Senate this week as the new Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget in a vote of 75 to 22.

Matt Olsen, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center for the past three years announced his resignation this week. Prior to serving at the NCTC, Olsen was the general counsel and chief legal officer for the National Security Agency and principal legal adviser to its director. He also previously served as associate deputy attorney general at the Justice Department, executive director of the Guantanamo Review Task Force, assistant attorney general for national security and special counsel to the FBI director. Olsen has not set a date to leave the job, but is expected to depart in the next few months after a successor is selected.

President Obama nominated Air Force Maj. Gen. James McLaughlin to be deputy commander of US Cyber Command and recommended he be promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. McLaughlin is currently commander of Air Force Space Command and commander of Air Forces Cyber at US Cyber Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. McLaughlin’s nomination comes as the four-year-old Cyber Command is beefing up its staff.

The President nominated Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall to be Deputy Secretary of Energy replacing Daniel Poneman who announced his resignation last month. Dr. Sherwood-Randall currently serves as Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for Defense Policy, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Arms Control, a position she has held since 2013. She has also served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council. Prior to joining the White House, she was a Stanford University Senior Research Scholar and Adjunct Senior Fellow for Alliance Relations at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The President nominated Joseph Nimmich to be Deputy Administrator of Federal Emergency Management Agency at the Department of Homeland Security, Anne Rung to be Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy at the Office of Management and Budget, and Alissa Starzak to be General Counsel of the Army at the Department of Defense.

The GOP confirmed this week that their 2016 Republican National Convention will be held in Cleveland, OH. They are considering the weeks of June 28 and July 18 as possible dates. Democrats are still considering Birmingham, Brooklyn, Cleveland, Columbus, Philadelphia, and Phoenix. Democrats hope to name a 2016 convention host city by the end of this year or early next year.

Next Week

The House will take up HR 5016, the FY15 Financial Services Appropriations bill as well as five tax bills – HR 2807, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act of 2014; HR 4619, the Permanent IRA Charitable Contribution Act of 2014; HR 4719, the Fighting Hunger Incentive Act of 2014; HR 3134, the Charitable Giving Extension Act; and HR 4691, the Private Foundation Excise Tax Simplification Act of 2014. The House may also consider HR 5021, the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014 and an extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. The Senate will vote on the nominations of Cheryl LaFleur and Norman Bay to serve as members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The Senate will also consider S 2244, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2014.

Washington Weekly – July 3, 2014

July 3, 2014

The House and Senate were in recess this week.

FY2015 Appropriations

Lawmakers are now talking about not if but when a continuing resolution (CR) will be needed to keep the government running after Sept 30. While the House has passed five of the 12 annual spending bills, the Senate stalled on their first minibus bill they brought to the floor. The CR would likely fund the government through the November elections, but what happens during the lame duck session depends on the results of the election. If the Republicans take control of the Senate they may opt to pass another CR so that they could assert their greater influence when they have control of both houses of Congress.

FY2015 Appropriations Bill Status

Appropriations Subcommittee House Action Senate Action
Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA and Related Agencies Subcommittee: May 20

Full Committee: May 29

Floor: postponed

Subcommittee: May 20

Full Committee: May 22

Floor: postponed

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee: April 30

Full Committee: May 8

House Floor: May 29

Subcommittee: June 3

Full Committee: June 5

Floor: postponed

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

Interior Subcommittee: July 9  
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

Floor: postponed

Political Updates

President Obama nominated Robert McDonald to succeed Eric Shinseki as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. McDonald is the retired Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of The Proctor and Gamble Company. He is credited with overseeing a major expansion of the company during his tenure. McDonald is a West Point graduate and served as a Captain in the US Army for five years, primarily in the 82nd Airborne division.

Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA) announced this week that he would seek re-election in November. After leaked security camera footage showed the married congressman kissing an aide earlier this year, he announced that he would not run again for the seat. He recanted that decision a few weeks later. He has until Aug 22 to file the necessary paperwork. Several other Republicans have announced their intentions to run for the seat, including Zach Dasher, cousin of “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson. McAllister was originally elected to the seat in a special election on Nov 16, 2013 to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Rodney Alexander. He has seats on the Agriculture and Natural Resources committees.

Next Week

The House and Senate return from their July 4th recess next week. The House will take up HR 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, HR 4923, the FY15 Energy and Water Appropriations Act, and HR 4718, a bill making the bonus depreciation permanent.