Week ahead: Lawmakers seek answers on hack

All eyes will be on the Obama administration as the public presses for answers about the ever-widening scope of the data breach at the Office of Personnel Management.

It was revealed Thursday that up to 14 million people — potentially including every current and former member of the federal government, government contractors and people named in background checks — may have had their personal information exposed by the hack.

When the hack was first announced in early June, the OPM said it believed hackers had gotten the records of 4 million current and former executive branch workers. But rumblings grew throughout this past week that more records were involved, with estimates ranging from 9 million to 14 million.

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Those worries were compounded late Friday by reports of a second separate breach that may have given Chinese-backed hackers access to security clearance information for millions of intelligence and military personnel.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will try to get some specifics from the administration during a Tuesday hearing.

A slate of top administration officials are expected to testify, including Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and the chief information officers for the OPM, Office of Management and Budget and the Interior Department, which housed the data center that was compromised.

Over in the Senate, Republican leaders will look to reassess and figure out how to move forward with a cybersecurity measure after failing to attach it to the annual defense authorization bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money — Democrats tee up Senate spending battles with GOP The Memo: Powell ended up on losing side of GOP fight Treasury to use extraordinary measures despite debt ceiling hike MORE (R-Ky.) had wanted to link a cyber bill — intended to facilitate the public-private exchange of information on hackers — to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The move was an attempt to rush the measure, known as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), through Congress in the wake of the OPM breach.

But Democrats balked at the maneuver, arguing they should have the chance to offer privacy-enhancing amendments.

Several surveillance critics, including Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Democrats address reports that clean energy program will be axed Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised On The Money — Democrats tee up Senate spending battles with GOP MORE (D-Vt.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Democrats address reports that clean energy program will be axed America can end poverty among its elderly citizens Congress needs to step up on crypto, or Biden might crush it MORE (D-Ore.), had pledged to alter the bill on the floor to quell fears that it would simply shuttle more sensitive data to the National Security Agency.

Democrats mustered just enough votes to block the move to attach the bill’s language to the NDAA, causing Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Memo: Powell ended up on losing side of GOP fight A pandemic of hyper-hypocrisy is infecting American politics Virginia race looms as dark cloud over Biden's agenda  MORE (R-Ariz.) to withdraw the amendment.

Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDemocrats brace for tough election year in Nevada The Memo: Biden's horizon is clouded by doubt Fight over Biden agenda looms large over Virginia governor's race MORE (D-Nev.) has called for the Senate to take up CISA immediately following the conclusion of the NDAA debate. But McConnell rejected that plan on the Senate floor, leaving it unclear what Republicans’ next move is for the cyber bill.

“We have a plan A and a plan B,” Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynCornyn raises more than M for Senate GOP Is the Biden administration afraid of trade? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - After high drama, Senate lifts debt limit MORE (R-Texas) told reporters shortly before Democrats stymied plan A. “Our plan B is plan A.”

 

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Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) called Democrats “just flat irresponsible” from the floor shortly after they blocked the cyber amendment: http://bit.ly/1QtQp1a

The Internal Revenue Service announced a new round of steps to better protect against identity theft and fraud before the 2016 tax-filing season: http://bit.ly/1QT7I6y

House lawmakers voted to further rein in the nation’s spies on Thursday, in a signal that legislators aren’t yet done reforming surveillance law: http://bit.ly/1FMTfUF

At least one organization is disputing the claims that the OPM hack hit all federal workers: http://bit.ly/1QT8aln

The Senate Appropriations Committee advanced a $51.1 billion bill to fund the Commerce and Justice Departments, both critical to federal cybersecurity efforts: http://bit.ly/1I9wElC