Homeland Security

Three Cybersecurity Bills to Hit Trump’s Desk This Year, Staffers Say
Movement on ‘Internet of things,’ intelligence and homeland security measures

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., left, and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., talk before the start of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on “World Wide Threats” on Thursday, May 11, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

SAN FRANCISCO — Dozens of bills are filed in Congress relating to cybersecurity and data breaches but many if not most may never see a committee markup let alone a floor vote. But key congressional staffers speaking at the RSA Conference here predicted at least three bills are likely to get to the president’s desk this year. 

A House-passed measure that would reorganize the Department of Homeland Security and create a new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has also cleared the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and is awaiting Senate floor passage. 

Senators Again Push Steamboat Exemption Despite Safety Warnings
Ship has taken on outsize significance on Capitol Hill

A group of senators wants to exempt the Delta Queen, a wooden steamboat, to operate as an overnight cruise ship despite safety concerns. (Al Behrman/AP file photo)

A group of senators have quietly inserted into a Coast Guard authorization bill a provision that would allow an old wooden steamboat to operate as an overnight cruise ship despite repeated official warnings that doing so would create a floating fire trap.

The Senate fell four votes short Wednesday of moving forward with the authorization measure. But the issue is not expected to die there.

Homeland Security, Cybersecurity and Silos
Administration looks for ways to strengthen cyberattack defenses

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said her department is working on a new cybersecurity strategy that can be applied in both the public and private sectors. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

SAN FRANCISCO — The Homeland Security Department is working on a cybersecurity strategy that aims to strengthen the overall digital economy’s defenses against cyberattacks, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said at a cybersecurity conference here on Tuesday.

The strategy “will bolster our digital defenses by prioritizing enhancements in risk identification, vulnerability reduction, threat reduction, and consequence mitigation,” Nielsen said without identifying when the strategy is likely to be made public. “We must be more aware of vulnerabilities built into the fabric of the internet, and other widespread weaknesses.”

Administration Details National Guard Duties on Border
California backs out of sending own

Border Patrol Chief Ronald D. Vitiello says National Guard troops will be prohibited from anything related to law enforcement at the border. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

About 900 National Guard troops have been deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border to help carry out President Donald Trump’s border security agenda, administration officials said Monday.

An estimated 250 troops have been deployed in Arizona, 60 in New Mexico and roughly 650 in Texas, said Lt. Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, vice chief of the National Guard Bureau. Trump has said he wants 2,000-4,000 troops deployed.

Trump’s Strategy to Shrink Immigration Court Backlog May Not Work
Quotas could backfire, advocates say

A Honduran mother and her children turn themselves in to Border Patrol agents near Penitas, Texas, in February. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

A crucial piece of President Donald Trump’s deportation machine is not working the way he wants. He’s arresting thousands more undocumented immigrants than his predecessor, and illegal border traffic has dropped to historically low levels.

Still, something is wrong.

Don’t Mess With Texas Landowners on Border Wall, Lawmakers Warn
‘I’ve been warning people since day one, you’re gonna need a lot of lawyers’

Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, talks reporters after a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol on October 11, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two Texas lawmakers — one Republican, one Democrat — warned Homeland Security Department officials Thursday that it won’t be easy to build President Donald Trump’s border wall in the Lone Star State if private landowners have anything to say about it.

GOP Rep. John Carter, chairman of the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee, and Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar, whose district sits on the border with Mexico, laid out a host of reasons why landowners on the border could stifle — temporarily, at least — DHS efforts to make Trump’s hallmark campaign promise a reality.

Richard Shelby Officially in as Senate Appropriations Chairman
GOP colleagues ratify powerful committee's vote

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., is the new chairman of the Appropriations Committee, replacing Thad Cochran. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans officially chose Sen. Richard C. Shelby as Appropriations chairman on Tuesday after his fellow Republicans ratified the Committee’s Monday evening vote during a closed-door lunch.

David Popp, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., confirmed the Alabama Republican’s selection, as well as the approval of Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., as the new Rules chairman, replacing Shelby.

Dems See ‘Unhinged’ Trump, GOP Split After Mueller Rant
Firing special counsel would be ‘like when Nixon fired Cox,’ Sen. Kaine says

President Donald Trump has mulled firing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating whether the Kremlin colluded with the president's 2016 campaign. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic lawmakers see a “desperate” Donald Trump lashing out at special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Republicans are split, with some defending a frustrated president and others warning him to calm down.

Members of Trump’s own party had little desire to spotlight the Monday evening rant in which he slammed the Mueller-led Justice Department probe into Russia’s 2016 election meddling and possible collusion with his campaign.

Top Homeland Security Aide Quits on Bolton’s Second Day
Tom Bossert widely viewed as a steady hand in unconventional White House

(Congressional Quarterly/Scott J. Ferrell)

Chief White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert resigned Tuesday, one day after conservative hawk John Bolton became national security adviser. 

“Tom led the White House’s efforts to protect the homeland from terrorist threats, strengthen our cyber defenses, and respond to an unprecedented series of natural disasters,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “President Trump thanks him for his patriotic service and wishes him well.”

Trump Sending Congress Border Legislation, Wants Guard on Hand
Hispanic Caucus questions due process, motivation

A Border Patrol Agent who declined to give their name zip ties suspected illegal immigrants together. This was the agents first, but not last apprehension of the night. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House has crafted border security legislation it wants Congress to quickly take up, even as President Donald Trump wants National Guardsmen deployed to help block immigrants from entering the United States via the Southern border.

A senior administration official later said the White House is planning a “very vigorous” legislative push on the issue.