House Takes Up Cyber-Security Bills

Recognizing that the national and economic security of the United States depends on the reliable functioning of critical infrastructure, the President issued Executive Order 13636, Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, in February 2013. It directed NIST to work with stakeholders to develop a voluntary framework – based on existing standards, guidelines, and practices - for reducing cyber risks to critical infrastructure. Photo: NIST.gov

Recognizing that the national and economic security of the United States depends on the reliable functioning of critical infrastructure, the President issued Executive Order 13636, Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, in February 2013. It directed NIST to work with stakeholders to develop a voluntary framework – based on existing standards, guidelines, and practices – for reducing cyber risks to critical infrastructure. Photo: NIST.gov

The House agreed to two bills aiming to enhance cyber-security not only on federal computer systems but on privates systems as well through a program that allows sharing of cyber-threats and strategies between federal and non-federal players.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA-) Bill sponsor

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA-) Bill sponsor

HR 1560 would provide ‘clear legal authority for the sharing of information about cybersecurity threats between and among non-Federal entities and the Federal Government.’  While such authority has already been establish through Executive Order the bill creates the National Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center to serve as the primary organization within the Federal Government for analyzing and integrating all intelligence possessed or acquired by the US pertaining to cyber threats; to ensure that appropriate departments and agencies have full access to and receive all-source intelligence support needed to execute the cyber threat intelligence activities of such agencies and to perform independent, alternative analyses; disseminate cyber threat analysis to the President, the appropriate departments and agencies of the Federal Government, and the appropriate committees of Congress; and to coordinate cyber threat intelligence activities of the departments and agencies of the Federal Government; and conduct strategic cyber threat intelligence planning for the Federal Government.

Rep Mike McCaul (R-TX-10th)

Rep Mike McCaul (R-TX-10th)

HR 1731 designates the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) as the `lead Federal civilian interface’ for multi-directional and cross-sector information sharing related to cybersecurity. The bill also adds cyber threat indicators and defensive measures to the types of technical threat data that the NCCIC will collect, analyze, and share to provide enhanced situational awareness to Federal, non-Federal and private entities. The NCCIC is directed to share information relating to cybersecurity risks and incidents with small and medium-sized businesses, as appropriate. The Committee believes that the NCCIC should strive to partner with small and medium-sized businesses for cybersecurity risks and incidents, and seeks to emphasize this in the legislation. – See more at: http://theweekincongress.com/?p=8244&preview=true#n1

It also adds cyber threat indicators and defensive measures to the types of technical threat data that the NCCIC will collect, analyze, and share to provide enhanced situational awareness to Federal, non-Federal and private entities. It directs the NCCIC to share information relating to cybersecurity risks and incidents with small and medium-sized businesses, as appropriate. The Committee believes that the NCCIC should strive to partner with small and medium-sized businesses for cybersecurity risks and incidents, and seeks to emphasize this in the legislation.

HR 1560 bill report

HR 1731 bill report

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Senate Moves Human Trafficking Bill

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) Bill sponsor

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) Bill sponsor

After much debate and several weeks of delays the Senate amended and agreed to S 178, a bill aiming to curtail human trafficking and provide resources for victims. The bill was stalled on a provision prohibiting federal funds from being used for abortion.

S 178 bill report

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Two Minor Medicare Bills

The Senate considered two Medicare-related bills; S 984 improves beneficiary access to eye tracking accessories for speech generating devices and removes the rental cap for durable medical equipment.  S 971 increases the limit of the length of an agreement under the ‘Medicare independence at home medical practice demonstration program’. S 971 was agreed to. S 984 is scheduled but has not yet been debated.

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CFPB to Establish Advisory Boards

Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) HR 1195 SponsorHR 1195 amends the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (12 U.S.C. 5494) to insert a new section requiring the Director of the CFPB to establish a Small Business Advisory Board to advise and consult with the Bureau in the exercise of the CFPB’s functions under the Federal consumer financial laws and to provide information on emerging small business practices, including regional trends and concerns. The bill also requires the Director of the CFPB to establish a Credit Union Advisory Council and a Community Bank Advisory Council to advise and consult with the CFPB on consumer financial products or services that impact credit unions and community banks.

HR 1195 bill report

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Energy Bill Sent to the President

Rep. Rob Portman (R-OH) Bill sponsor.

Rep. Rob Portman (R-OH) Bill sponsor.

The House agreed with the Senate bill S 535 to direct the Administrator to develop policies and practices to implement cost-effective energy efficiency measures and cost-effective water efficiency measures for the realty services provided by the Administrator to Federal agencies.

The bill addresses energy savings in three areas; better, more energy efficient buildings; grid-enabled water heaters; and energy information for commercial buildings.

S 535 bill report

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Controlling Controlled Substances
Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA-10th) Bill sponsor.

Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA-10th) Bill sponsor.

HR 471 sets specific guidelines for when the Attorney General is making a decision if registering an applicant to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance under schedule I or II is in the public interest or an ‘imminent danger to public health or safety’.

The bill requires a report to Congress identifying obstacles to legitimate patient access to controlled substances, issues with diversion of controlled substances and how Federal, State, local and Tribal law enforcement agencies and the pharmaceutical industry can benefit patients and prevent diversion and abuse of controlled substances.

HR 471 bill report

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Lynch Nomination

Loretta Lynch

Loretta Lynch

The President’s choice for US Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, was approved in the Senate with a 56-43. vote.