Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) released the following statement after the House voted on bipartisan legislation to prevent the doubling of student loan rates on July 1st, as well as a transportation that will create much-needed jobs throughout Los Angeles and California:
“I was very pleased to see that the House today reached bipartisan agreement – so rare over the past year – on two important pieces of legislation that will keep student loan rates low and pave the way for jobs and economic growth. If Congress had failed to act on student loans today, over seven million students would have seen their student loan interest rates double. With unemployment high for recent graduates, the last thing that we need to do is compound the challenges they face in today’s tough economic environment.
“The transportation bill is critical to our universal goals of creating new jobs and helping our struggling economy. This legislation will protect nearly two million construction jobs, and create a million more. In California, our economy will not come back until our construction industry does, and this bill will be a much-needed boost.
“While I was pleased that we eventually reached this important consensus, I deeply regret that the final bill weakened a critical provision that would have protected local communities’ ability to decide how to invest a small pool of federal funds that fund bicycle and pedestrian projects, did not authorize the popular TIGER program that has funded innovative transportation projects and did not provide a funding source for freight movement projects.”
Below are details on the bipartisan agreement on both bills:
One-Year Extension of Student Loan Rate: This legislation extends the current 3.4 percent loan rate on need-based student loans through July 1, 2013. Under current law, the rate would have doubled to 6.8 percent on July 1, 2012.
Transportation Bill: This agreement provides 27 months of stable funding, so that states can have the confidence they need to undertake large and complex projects that will create much needed jobs. It will also dramatically expand the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) financing program that will allow local governments with dedicated sources of revenue to accelerate the delivery of critical transportation infrastructure program through low cost loans. This will create jobs now.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a former federal prosecutor, issued the following statement after the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted to hold the Attorney General in contempt:
“The Committee has taken the deeply ill-considered step of voting to hold the Attorney General in contempt. Given the Attorney General’s willingness to provide a wide range of documents not generally made available to Congress – such as internal deliberations over communicating with a co-equal branch of government – it is hard to escape the conclusion that the Committee is more interested in a fight with the Attorney General than getting the information it seeks.
“The use of Congress’s contempt power should be jealously guarded and only used with the most scrupulous care, otherwise it becomes nothing more than a rhetorical tool of partisan warfare and a paper tiger. I urge the House Leadership to step back from this needless and destructive process, and join the Attorney General at the negotiating table so this issue can be resolved in a timely way. The Fast and Furious investigation, which had its origin in a legitimate need to get to the bottom of a botched ‘gun walking’ operation has lost its way, and is now accomplishing nothing but doing damage to the institution of Congress.”
This week, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) helped introduce the Password Protection Act Of 2012, legislation aimed at curbing the growing practice of employers requiring prospective or current employees to provide access to password-protected accounts as a condition for employment. According to news reports across the country, this is a cause of great concern especially among students set to graduate college this month. Schiff introduced the bill with eleven other co-sponsors led by Reps. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO).
“This common sense legislation would prevent employers from mandating that job applicants or current employees disclose confidential passwords to their social networks, like Facebook. Someone’s personal page should be just that – personal,”said Schiff. “These online pages are a modern version of the diary, and people should be free to share their digital diaries or keep them completely private – as they choose. But job applicants should not be required to turn over their passwords and have their privacy violated in order to secure employment. Especially in this tough economic environment, we should be removing impediments for job seekers, not creating them.
“Earlier this year, I was proud to support an amendment that would have accomplished these goals as well, but it was unfortunately voted down on the House floor. I will continue to support privacy protections like this one.”
Recent news reports have highlighted a disturbing increase in the number of employers asking prospective employees to hand over usernames and passwords to their personal accounts on websites like Facebook. Some job applicants are even being asked during interviews to log into these websites and allow interviewers to browse the applicant’s profile, acquaintances, and other information. Others are being asked to provide passwords on job applications.
The Password Protection Act of 2012 enhances current law to prohibit employers from compelling or coercing employees into providing access to their private accounts:
- Prohibits an employer from forcing prospective or current employees to provide access to their own private account as a condition of employment.
- Prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against a prospective or current employee because that employee refuses to provide access to a password-protected account.
- The Password Protection Act only prohibits adverse employment related actions as a consequence of an employee’s failure to provide access to their own private accounts. It preserves the rights of employers to:
o Permit social networking within the office on a voluntary basis.
o Set policies for employer-operated computer systems.
o Hold employees accountable for stealing data from their employers.
o Employers that violate the Password Protection Act may face financial penalties.
Rep. Schiff: Leaks in Foiled Terror Plot Should Be Investigated
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a senior Member of the Intelligence Committee, joined calls for an investigation into potential leaks of classified and sensitive information related to the foiled plot to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner, and released the following statement:
“Our men and women in the Intelligence community did a great job disrupting this terror plot before Americans were put at risk. The plot’s disclosure and further leaks raise troubling questions and potentially jeopardize the work of our intelligence agencies.
“While it’s important that the public be aware of the dangers we face from al Qaeda, it is also critical that intelligence efforts not be needlessly and destructively compromised. The leaks should be investigated.”
“Our Intelligence community is the best in the world, and they deserve our congratulations and thanks for foiling this plot. We need to continue to be vigilant, and work across different agencies to ensure continued information sharing and cooperation – this remains the only proven way to disrupt terror plots, and must always be our priority.
This week, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), a senior Member of the Intelligence Committee, will offer an amendment to address concerns raised by the Administration, civil liberties groups and Internet users with the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). The House is slated to take up the bill along with a host of other cyber security bills later this week.
“Throughout the cyber security debate, my priority has been addressing the gaping holes in our cyber defenses,” Schiff said. “It is important to move forward with a cyber security bill to address information sharing, but we must make sure that it includes strong protections for the civil liberties and privacy of Americans. I appreciate the good work of the Chair and Ranking Member, and will continue to work with my colleagues on the Intelligence Committee to make improvements to the bill before it comes to the floor later this week. Along these lines, I am preparing an amendment which will address many of the concerns raised over the past month. I believe that my amendment would narrowly tailor the bill to its purpose of protecting us from attacks on our cyber infrastructure and protecting trade secrets while protecting the privacy and civil liberties of ordinary Americans.”
Schiff’s amendment would require the development of policies and procedures to minimize the impact of information sharing on privacy and civil liberties, specifically minimizing the collection of personally identifiable information. It would also narrowly define and tailor the purposes for which the government can use information obtained from private entities under the legislation, while including exceptions for information that directly relates to a crime or a specific national security threat.
The amendment would:
- Adopt privacy language requiring the development of policies and procedures to minimize the impact of information sharing on privacy and civil liberties, including by minimizing the collection of publicly identifiable information as included in Senator Feinstein’s draft. The procedures would have to be reviewed and approved by the U.S. Attorney General within one year of their development;
- Narrow the purposes for which a Federal agency may use cybersecurity information obtained under the Act. Allow for the use of cyber security information if the information discloses a specific threat to national security or is considered foreign intelligence information; and
- Use Lieberman/Collins/Feinstein definitions for Cybersecurity Threat, Cybersecurity Threat Information, and Cybersecurity Threat Intelligence, while also adopting a number of other definitions that are necessary to define those terms.