• Texas Republican lawmakers introduce border security bill

    Two Texas Republican legislators have introduced a bill which will mandate that DHS meet several demanding border security standards, but said that these standards will not delay progress on immigration reform. Senator John Cronyn (R-Texas) and Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas) filed the Border Security Act of 2013 on Tuesday. The bill requires, among other things, that DHS return to reporting how much of the border is under “operational control,” reporting which the agency discontinued in 2010.

  • Lawmakers question TSA new uniform purchase

    Republican lawmakers want to know why the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has signed a contract worth  $50 million for new uniforms for the agency’s employees, at the same time that officials are complaining that budget cuts are causing staff shortages, flight delays, and longer lines at security checkpoints.

  • Sponsors of CISPA to address nagging privacy concerns about the bill

    House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) and Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Maryland), sponsors of the Cyber Information Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), say they are currently working on the draft to alleviate privacy concerns civil liberty advocates may have about the bill.

  • House Intelligence Committee to work on cybersecurity bill in camera

    The House Intelligence Committee will meet next week in order to draft a  cybersecurity bill, known as the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), but will not allow media members or the public to sit in on meetings during the process.

  • Bipartisan House immigration overhaul bill offers three paths to legal status

    While a bipartisan Senate group – the Group of Eight – is set to unveil its immigration overhaul proposal next week when Congress returns from a break, a bipartisan group of House members has come up with its own immigration reform draft. The House members’ proposal divides illegal immigrants into three categories – “Dreamers” and agricultural workers; those with families and jobs in the United States; and those who do not belong in either of the two other categories – and offers immigrants in each category a distinct path to citizenship.

  • GOP lawmakers say immigration reform bill should not be rushed

    As the unveiling of the bipartisan Gang of Eight’s immigration bill approaches, , Republican lawmakers, including one who  is part of the bipartisan group,  are asking Senate leaders to slow down the consideration of  the bill so as  to avoid making “fatal mistakes.”

  • Engineers educate lawmakers about aging U.S. infrastructure

    Two hundred members of the American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE) fanned out across Capitol Hill last month for the annual Legislative Fly-In with a message: U.S. infrastructure problems are solvable if we have strong leadership in Congress. The ASCE members highlighted the nation’s need to eliminate the backlog of infrastructure deficiencies, modernize roads, bridges, water systems, and energy grid – and reminded Congress that to promote commerce and protect public safety, welfare, and the environment, infrastructure investment is a priority issue.

  • Bipartisan Group of Eight to unveil immigration reform bill in early April

    The bipartisan group of senators known as the Group of Eight, currently finalizing the details of a sweeping immigration bill, said on Wednesday that they will be ready to unveil their plan to Congress when it gets back to work in April. Four of the senators visited the U.S.-Mexico border to observe security operations along the border first hand.

  • Draft cybersecurity bill to increase penalties for hacking substantially

    A draft of a cybersecurity bill circulating among House Judiciary Committee members would strengthen a computer hacking law. The draft would stiffen penalties for cyber crimes and establish a standard for companies to tell consumers when their personal information has been hacked. The bill would also change an existing law, making a cyber crime attempt punishable as an actual offense.

  • ICE agents tell senators to go slow on in immigration reform

    Chris Crane, the head of the union representing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, has asked the bipartisan group of senators, known as the Gang of 8, which is working on immigration reform to allow ICE agents to offer their input.

  • Comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform bill to be unveiled early April

    The Gang of 8, a bipartisan group of senators, is finalizing work on a comprehensive immigration reform bill which will be introduced shortly after Congress comes back 8 April. The bill will offer a path to citizenship to illegal immigrants, add up to 200,000 visas per year depending on the U.S. economic conditions and employment needs, increase substantially the number of visas allocated for highly skilled tech workers, and reduce some categories of family visas.

  • Napolitano testifies on cybersecurity executive order

    Two Senate panels questioned DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano yesterday at a hearing on President Obama’s cybersecurity executive order and what issues need to be addressed in cyber legislation. “We simply cannot afford to wait any longer to adequately protect ourselves,” Said Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

  • Senate confirms Brennan for CIA post

    The Senate, on a 63-34 vote Thursday afternoon, confirmed John Brennan as the new director of the CIA. The vote came after Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), ended his 13-hour filibuster, saying he was now satisfied with the clarifications by Attorney General Eric Holder regarding the use of drones to kill American citizens. Paul’s tactics divided the Republican caucus, with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and John McCain (R-Arizona), who spoke on the Senate floor earlier today, mincing no words in denouncing Paul’s quest for clarifications. Paul’s filibuster is the ninth longest filibuster in Senate history.

  • Tech companies, telecoms clash over cybersecurity executive order

    Last August a cybersecurity bill died in Congress amid partisan bickering. On 12 February this year, President Obama packed many of that bill’s elements into a cybersecurity executive order. To make the order more acceptable to some of its congressional and industry critics, the president introduced an exemption which would take large technology companies off the list of companies subject to the new cybersecurity standards. This exemption placated some of the original cybersecurity bill’s critics, but angered others, chief among them telecommunication companies.

  • U.S. nuclear industry resists stricter, post-Fukushima safety measures

    Since the March 2011 Fukushima disaster, members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) have been debating whether or not to impose even stricter safety measures on the thirty-one U.S. boiling water reactors (BWRs). Utility companies have been fighting any new safety regulations, arguing that the security measures they have are more than enough.