Congress Scrambles To Reach Spending Bill Agreement
December 11, 2017
House to vote on bill to overhaul Department of Homeland Security cyber unit; Congressional leaders pass two-week stopgap spending measure, scramble to reach agreement on spending bill; Conference Board’s Employment Index Decreases in November.
- House to vote on bill to overhaul Department of Homeland Security cyber unit. House lawmakers are set to vote on legislation to overhaul the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity efforts this week. The legislation, a priority of Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas), would re-organize an office called the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) at the department headquarters that is tasked with protecting critical infrastructure from cyber threats. He plans to elevate this office into a full operational agency within the department. One of the NPPD’s responsibilities is to protect election infrastructure - now designated as critical infrastructure - from cyber attacks. NPPD currently does not have a permanent secretary in charge of its mission. The latest version of the bill would re-organize and designate the NPPD as the “Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency,” composed of three distinct divisions focused on cybersecurity, infrastructure security and emergency communications. House lawmakers will vote on the bill on Monday evening. [The Hill]
- Congressional leaders pass two-week stopgap spending measure, scramble to reach agreement on spending bill. The House and Senate on Thursday passed a two-week stopgap spending measure known as a continuing resolution (CR) in order to keep the government open long enough to negotiate a longer-term spending bill. President Trump signed the bill on Friday. On Thursday, a White House official said the group had reached a “tentative agreement” to raise defense spending. However, congressional leaders were less optimistic. The White House and Republicans are looking at a $54 billion increase in defense spending, yet Democrats are insisting of an equal increase in non-defense spending. Democrats have leverage because the spending package needs at least 60 votes to pass the Senate, requiring at least eight Democrats in the upper chamber to have to vote for it. [The Hill]
Economic Indicators & News
- Conference Board’s Employment Index Decreases in November. After a strong increase in November, the Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index fell to 135.88 in November from 136.23. The change represents a 4.7 percent gain in the Employment Trends Index compared to a year ago. Of the eight indicators the index tracks, three of them were negative, including the percentage of firms with positions not able to fill right now and initial claims for unemployment insurance. [WSJ]