The Senate returned to work Monday afternoon to continue consideration of the fiscal year (FY) 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), beginning a torrid stretch of legislative work leading up to the end of the calendar year.

The Senate must multi-task this week on two critical issues: working through a variety of consequential tech-related amendments among the more than 1,000 filed for the defense spending bill, and coming to an agreement on a continuing resolution (CR) by midnight on Dec. 3 to keep the Federal government funded.

On the NDAA front, the filing deadline for first-degree amendments to the bill passed on Monday afternoon. Among the amendments filed to the bill is a crack at reform of the Federal Information Security and Modernization Act (FISMA), multiple attempts at tackling the issue of mandator cyber incident reporting, and other potentially consequential cyber and tech amendments.

Any CR legislation would also need to pass the House this week, as well as the Senate, and would give the chambers more time to consider full appropriations bills for FY2022.

Beyond the NDAA and a CR, both chambers of Congress also need to reach a debt limit deal in the coming weeks.

Also on the schedule is Senate consideration of the House-passed Build Back Better Act, which includes billions for supply chain resiliency, as well as funding for IT modernization and cybersecurity, as currently written.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., had previously taken a shot at adding the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) to the NDAA as an amendment. However, after Senate Republicans signaled they would oppose the typically bipartisan defense spending bill if USICA was included, Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced the two chambers would instead conference the bill.

With such a busy legislative schedule and just a few weeks left in the year to accomplish it all, consideration of some of these pieces of legislation could slip into the next calendar year, either by design or circumstance.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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