Homeland Security Committee Passes Border Security, Transportation Security, Emergency Communications Legislation
Today, the Committee on Homeland Security passed, by voice vote, H.R. 3846, H.R. 3488, H.R. 3202, H.R. 4802, H.R. 4803, H.R. 4812, H.R. 4263 and H.R. 4289 - bipartisan legislation to enhance emergency communications and improve the accountability and transparency of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the United States Coast Guard, and the Transportation Security Administration. Information on the markup can be found HERE.
Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX): “Today, the Committee passed eight bills to further improve the border security, transportation security and emergency communications efforts of the Department of Homeland Security. I am pleased that the Committee approved H.R. 3846, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Authorization Act, which provides the proper authorities and guidance to CBP to ensure taxpayers dollars are used effectively and efficiently. It’s inexcusable that Congress has never before authorized CBP and we will spend significant time this year authorizing other key DHS components. H.R. 3846 also seeks to address the unprecedented surge of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Children are facing a dangerous journey to be smuggled into the U.S. and the Administration is not adequately prepared to address this crisis. This bill requires DHS to provide a thorough report to Congress on this issue, including an investigation into the root cause and the operational impacts of this mass migration of unaccompanied children. The Committee also passed H.R. 3488, important legislation to set prerequisites for the establishment of preclearance facilities. This bill supports the concept of pushing our borders out to detect and deter threats before they reach our shores.
“Additionally, the Committee passed H.R. 4802, the Airport Security Enhancement Act of 2014. Last November, a shooter entered LAX and senselessly took the life of TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez and injured three other individuals. This bill will strengthen security incident response at airports across the country by assessing each airport’s ability to respond to an active shooter or other threat.
“As the son of a WWII veteran, I am also pleased that the Committee passed H.R. 4812, the Honor Flight Act, to assist veterans in visiting their respective memorials in Washington, DC. This is just one more way to show our depth of gratitude to our veterans, especially those members of the Greatest Generation.
“I thank all the Members for their hard work and leadership on these bills and I look forward to their advancement to the House floor.”
The Committed passed H.R. 3846, the United States Customs and Border Protection Authorization Act, introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Candice Miller (R-MI), to provide for the authorization of border, maritime, and transportation security responsibilities and functions in the Department of Homeland Security and the establishment of United States Customs and Border Protection. H.R. 3846, as amended, passed by voice vote.
The Committee also passed H.R. 3488, introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Patrick Meehan (R-PA), to establish the conditions under which the Secretary of Homeland Security may establish preclearance facilities, conduct preclearance operations, and provide customs services outside the United States. H.R. 3488, as amended, passed by voice vote.
In addition, the Committee passed H.R. 3202, the Essential Transportation Worker Identification Credential Assessment Act, introduced by Subcommittee Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), to require the Secretary of Homeland Security to prepare a comprehensive security assessment of the transportation security card program. H.R. 3202, as amended, passed by voice vote.
Subcommittee Chairman Miller on H.R. 3846: “CBP is responsible for securing and protecting our borders, an extraordinary undertaking critical to our national security. Despite its vital mission, however, it has been operating without the statutory authorization necessary to support and define its operations since it was transferred to the Department of Homeland Security in 2002. Today, the House moved another step closer to codifying its important mission with the full Committee’s adoption of my authorizing legislation. This bill is essential to ensuring that CBP has the Congressional and legal backing it needs to protect its tandem mission of trade facilitation and border security.”
The Committee passed H.R. 4802, the Airport Security Enhancement Act of 2014, introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Richard Hudson (R-NC), to improve intergovernmental planning for and communication during security incidents at domestic airports. H.R. 4802, as amended, passed by voice vote.
The Committee also passed H.R. 4803, the TSA Office of Inspection Accountability Act of 2014, introduced by Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC), to require the Transportation Security Administration to conform to existing Federal law and regulations regarding criminal investigator positions. H.R. 4803, as amended, passed by voice vote.
Lastly, the Committee passed H.R. 4812, the Honor Flight Act, introduced by Subcommittee Ranking Member Cedric Richmond (D-LA), to require the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration to establish a process for providing expedited and dignified passenger screening services for veterans traveling to visit war memorials built and dedicated to honor their service. H.R. 4812, as amended, passed by voice vote.
Subcommittee Chairman Hudson: “I am pleased the Committee took swift action to advance this series of bipartisan bills to provide greater accountability for TSA and help ensure that our nation’s airports are prepared to respond to security incidents. I applaud Chairman McCaul, Ranking Member Thompson, Ranking Member Richmond, and Rep. Sanford for their hard work and leadership. I look forward to this legislation receiving prompt consideration by the full House.”
The Committee passed H.R. 4263, the Social Media Working Group Act of 2014, introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN), to authorize the Department of Homeland Security to establish a social media working group. H.R. 4263, as amended, passed by voice vote.
The Committee also passed H.R. 4289, the Department of Homeland Security Interoperable Communications Act, introduced by Ranking Member Donald Payne (D-NJ), to require the Under Secretary for Management of the Department of Homeland Security to take administrative action to achieve and maintain interoperable communications capabilities among the components of the Department of Homeland Security. H.R. 4289, as amended, passed by voice vote.
Subcommittee Chairman Brooks: “I’m pleased the Committee passed two important bills today that strengthen emergency communications. It is imperative that first responders, the public, and the Department’s components, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, Transportation Security Administration, Secret Service, and Coast Guard, are able to communicate with one another during emergencies. H.R. 4263, the Social Media Working Group Act of 2014, authorizes and enhances the Department’s Virtual Social Media Working Group to include more private sector expertise and collaboration and to ensure the development of best practices and consideration of lessons learned on the use of social media before, during, and after a disaster. This bill requires the working group to submit a yearly report to Congress, which will ensure the sharing of this information with appropriate stakeholders. Additionally, the Committee passed H.R. 4289, the DHS Interoperable Communications Act, which will require the Department's Under Secretary for Management to submit a strategy to this Committee on how they will develop and maintain interoperability among its components.”