News in Brief

House Intel organizes, TSA gears up for Super Bowl and more

Chairman Devin Nunes is restructuring the House intelligence committee to focus on the government institutions it oversees.

House Intel retools structure, adds cyber panel

Under new chairman Devin Nunes, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has reorganized to move away from the thematic approach favored by retired chairman Mike Rogers and instead focus on the government institutions the panel oversees.

The committee is undergoing a geographical shift as well. Both of the committee's senior members -- Republican Nunes and ranking Democrat Adam Schiff -- are from California. They replace Michigan Republican Rogers and Maryland Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger.

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) will lead the subcommittee on the National Security Agency and Cybersecurity, with Jim Himes (D-Conn.) as ranking member. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) will lead the CIA Subcommittee, with Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) as ranking member.

A panel with oversight authority for defense intelligence will be led by Joe Heck (R-Nev.), with Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) as ranking member. Thomas Rooney (R-Fla.) will serve as chairman of the Emerging Threats Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over counterintelligence and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) is ranking member.

Under the leadership of Rogers and Ruppersberger, most of the initiatives related to cybersecurity and other intelligence topics were handled by the leaders on a bipartisan basis in the full committee. That does not appear likely to change with Nunes holding the gavel and Schiff as ranking member.

Obama proposes end to sequester

President Barack Obama will seek to reverse spending cuts signed into law in 2013 when he releases a budget next week that will propose a 7 percent increase over sequestration levels, multiple news outlets have reported.

The plan includes $530 billion in non-defense discretionary spending, an increase of $37 billion over the current limits, and $561 billion in defense spending, which $38 billion more than the sequester caps.

Republicans objected immediately, with some arguing that if the sequester is undone, the increases must be balanced by cuts elsewhere in the budget.

Postgame logjam expected at Phoenix airport

Even though the Transportation Security Administration plans to deploy 90 additional screening officers and bump the number of checkpoint lanes at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport ahead of the Super Bowl, the agency advised travelers to allow three hours between arriving at the airport and boarding their planes the day after the game.

In an advisory released Jan. 29, TSA said it expects the typical daily number of travelers at the airport to double to 80,000 the day after the game. At the same time, people traveling to attend a PGA golf tournament nearby could complicate matters even more, TSA said.

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