Week ahead: Senate down to the wire on NSA reform

All eyes will be on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers run into major speed bumps on spending bills Budowsky: Donald, Boris, Bibi — The right in retreat Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet MORE (R-Ky.) next week for signs of progress toward reauthorizing the Patriot Act.

With a legislative deadline of June 1 looming, and the Memorial Day holiday between now and then, lawmakers have only a few working days left to come to an agreement.

McConnell opposes changes to the National Security Agency supported by both Republicans and Democrats, putting him in a tricky spot, especially because reformers in the House oppose a stopgap bill.

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Nonetheless, it is possible that the Senate might pass a short-term extension in order to buy itself more time to hammer out a deal.

Negotiators could also decide to take up and water down a House bill to end the NSA's bulk collection of phone records. The measure passed the lower chamber this week on a vote of 338-88.

House lawmakers are pressuring McConnell to hold a vote on their bill. He responded Thursday by filing a short-term measure along with the NSA reform legislation, leaving his options open. 

"The House has acted to make sure that the administration has the tools to keep Americans safe," Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBoehner reveals portrait done by George W. Bush Meadows to be replaced by Biggs as Freedom Caucus leader Scaramucci compares Trump to Jonestown cult leader: 'It's like a hostage crisis inside the White House' MORE (R-Ohio) said on Thursday. "It's time for the Senate to act."

Senate leaders have indicated they will shift to House-passed cybersecurity legislation after the NSA debate is settled. The cyber bill would boost the public-private exchange of information about hacking threats. But with time running out before the upcoming holiday recess, it's increasingly likely cyber will get punted to later.

Debate also continues over how best to set national data security standards, with solutions proposed in both chambers.

The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit will hold a hearing Tuesday about how the banking industry addresses threats from hackers.

Just this week, the full committee hosted Financial Services Roundtable President Tim Pawlenty and representatives from the retail and payment industries for another hearing about hacking threats.

Several cyber events will take place on Wednesday.

The Advanced Technology Academic Research Center will hold its Federal Cybersecurity Integration Summit.

The Heritage Foundation and the Atlantic Council's Cyber Statecraft Initiative will each hold discussions on cybersecurity.

And the Georgetown University Law Center will begin its third annual Cybersecurity Law Institute, to conclude Thursday.

Finally, on Thursday, the Chamber of Commerce will hold a discussion on the Internet of Things.

 

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