Homeland Security Committee Passes Legislation to Improve DHS Acquisition Programs, CFATS, IPAWS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Committee on Homeland Security passed, by voice vote, H.R. 4007, H.R. 4228 and H.R. 3283 - bipartisan legislation to improve standards to secure chemical facilities, reform DHS’s purchasing processes to save taxpayer dollars and modernize the public alerts and warnings system. Information on the markup can be found HERE.
Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX): “Today, the Committee unanimously approved important bipartisan legislation to cut waste at DHS, improve disaster response notifications and to help better secure chemical facilities. Just this week, a GAO report outlined the potential for more procurement delays, cost growth, and capability reductions in the coming years at the Department. H.R. 4228, the DHS Acquisition Accountability and Efficiency Act, helps solve these issues by increasing accountability to save taxpayer dollars. The Committee also approved a bill to update the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) to incorporate technologies such as smart phones and social media to be used in the event of a disaster. Using this system to warn citizens of acts of terrorism, as it was after the Boston Bombings, and during severe weather, as we’re now seeing sweep across our South and Midwest, saves lives. Finally, the Committee also passed H.R. 4007, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Authorization and Accountability Act, which ensures that facilities holding certain amounts of chemicals aren’t off the grid, and that first-responders are prepared to react in the event of a terrorist attack. These important bills have broad stakeholder support, and I look forward to their advancement to the House floor.”
The Committed passed H.R. 4007, the “Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program Authorization and Accountability Act of 2014,” introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Patrick Meehan (R-PA) and Chairman McCaul. The bill recodifies and reauthorizes the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program. H.R. 4007, as amended, passed by voice vote.
Subcommittee Chairman Meehan: “The unanimous passage of this legislation today shows that both parties can support common-sense efforts to prevent terrorist attacks at facilities like the fertilizer plant that exploded with catastrophic consequences in West, Texas last year. This bill takes prudent steps to codify and strengthen the CFATS program and will make the thousands of chemical facilities across the nation safer. It’s supported by the Department of Homeland Security and by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. Washington needs more of this collaboration between Republicans and Democrats, and I’m hopeful it will be considered before the full House promptly.”
The Committee also passed H.R. 4228, the “DHS Acquisition Accountability and Efficiency Act,” introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Duncan (R-SC), Chairman McCaul, Subcommittee Ranking Member Ron Barber (D-AZ), and Congressman Steve Daines (R-MT). The bill requires DHS to improve discipline, accountability, and transparency in acquisition program management. H.R. 4228, as amended, passed by voice vote.
Subcommittee Chairman Duncan: “Saving taxpayer dollars through improving the management at DHS has been our major focus on the Subcommittee. H.R. 4228 does just that by increasing accountability, discipline, and transparency for DHS’s major purchases. I’m pleased to have had strong bipartisan cooperation with Subcommittee Ranking Member Barber. I also thank Chairman McCaul and Ranking Member Thompson for their leadership in helping to make DHS more efficient and effective. I look forward to seeing the House consider a vote on this bill soon.”
In addition, the Committee passed H.R. 3283, the “Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act of 2013,” introduced by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and passed by the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, chaired by Rep. Susan W. Brooks (R-IN), directs the DHS Secretary to modernize and implement the national integrated public alert and warning system to disseminate homeland security information and other information. H.R. 3283, as amended, passed by voice vote.
Subcommittee Chairman Brooks: “I am pleased the Committee approved the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act, H.R. 3283. As we have seen with the severe storms that have impacted the South and Midwest this week, emergencies can occur at any time, often with little notice. One need only look at these and other events, such as the Boston Marathon bombings and Superstorm Sandy, to see that a robust alert and warning system can help to save lives and keep people out of harm’s way. H.R. 3282 authorizes the IPAWS program, which seeks to improve public safety through the rapid distribution of emergency messages to as many people as possible, including individuals with disabilities, access, or functional needs, through multiple modes of communication.”