OVERNIGHT MONEY: Data privacy gets a look

TUESDAY'S BIG STORY:  

Data privacy remains focus: The Senate Judiciary Committee is next up on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of passing a federal law that would cover data breach notifications.

As part of a slate of hearings scheduled for this week looking at the issue, Tuesday's hearing with regulators and industry advocates representing banks and retailers, along with executives of the targeted companies, will be digging into the recent data breaches suffered by major retailers like Target and Neiman Marcus, where billions of customers’ private financial information was stolen.

ADVERTISEMENT
On Monday, several lawmakers expressed optimism that legislation that would better protect consumers’ data from theft will speed through the Congress.

Talks are ramping up about the components of such a bill, with stakeholders concerned about how any new potential legislation might negatively affect their businesses.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said at a Senate Banking subcommittee hearing on Monday that the legislative battle would be different than the fight over swipe fees.

“We do not need, I don’t believe, a multi-year legislative battle here when hackers are not going to take time out and American consumers are going to be increasingly at risk,” he said.

Target, Neiman Marcus, Michaels and hotel chains including Marriott and Hilton have said they have all been hit by hackers who stole data from millions of their customers.

Lawmakers and industries on all sides have suggested that a national data breach notification law could be a good place to start.

Most states have laws in place, but there isn't any federal legislation, which businesses argue would provide a uniform framework for companies that operate in different states.

"It’s extremely important, which is why we support a law at the federal level with civil penalties,” said Jessica Rich, the director of the Federal Trade Commission’s consumer protection bureau.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said that a national law was necessary “so that you can get to the bottom of it, because time is literally money in this situation.”

 

WHAT ELSE WE'RE WATCHING

Farm bill green-lighted: The Senate voted 72-22 to end debate and proceed on the five-year bill on Monday, setting up final passage for Tuesday.

Once the Senate passes the $956 billion bill, it will head to President Obama’s desk.

The House previously approved the bill in a 251-166 vote last week.

Up in the air: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee could vote Tuesday on the nomination of Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) to become the next U.S. ambassador to China. If Baucus doesn't come up, a vote would probably be scheduled for Thursday. The Senate Finance Committee chairman is not facing any major opposition.

Economic outlook: Several economists will sit down with the Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday to discuss the outlook for this year and how to get out of a pattern of regular crises to more robust growth.

Insurance regs: A House Financial Services subcommittee will hold a hearing Tuesday to discuss the Federal Insurance Office’s report on how to update and improve the nation's insurance regulation with a broad range of experts. 

 

LOOSE CHANGES

Stocks tumble: The Dow Jones industrial average dropped more than than 320 points on Monday on concerns over domestic and global growth, making it the largest slide in more than seven months.

 

ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Factory Orders: The Commerce Department is releasing December data on factory orders that consist of the earlier announced durable goods report plus non-durable goods orders.

 

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

— Legislators hope for speedy data privacy law

— Audit: Changes to healthcare law could hurt customer service

— Senate deal on unemployment insurance in the works

— Grassley demands legal defense for executive actions

— House Democrats: Debt-limit showdown would hurt taxpayers

— Manufacturing growth slows sharply in January

— Yellen sworn in at Federal Reserve

Bernanke joins Brookings Institution

— Lew: Debt-limit boost can't wait

 

Catch us on Twitter: @VickoftheHill, @peteschroeder, @elwasson and @berniebecker3

Tips and feedback, vneedham@thehill.com. 

More in Technology

Spending bill more than doubles money for privacy watchdog

Read more »