House Passes Legislation to Authorize Customs and Border Protection, Assess TWIC Program

Jul 28, 2014 Issues: Border Security, Maritime Security

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed bipartisan legislation to authorize the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the first time and to require a comprehensive security assessment of the transportation security card program.

Specifically, the House passed by voice vote H.R. 3846, the United States Customs and Border Protection Authorization Act, which was introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Candice Miller (R-MI). Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) joined in co-sponsoring the bill. For the first time since the creation of the Department, this legislation provides the authorization of border, maritime, and transportation security responsibilities and functions in DHS and the establishment of CBP.

Chairman McCaul on H.R. 3846: “I am pleased the House has passed the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Authorization Act, which will authorize CBP for the first time ever. As an agency with more than 44,000 Federal law enforcement officers, it is critical that Congress provide greater transparency, accountability and oversight to CBP on a routine basis. Authorizing the Department and its components like CBP remains my top priority for the Homeland Security Committee. Next Congress, I intend to lead the first ever DHS authorization through regular order in partnership with my fellow chairmen.”

Subcommittee Chairman Miller on H.R. 3846: “With over 44,000 law enforcement officers, Customs Border Protection is the largest federal law enforcement agency in the nation and has the paramount responsibility of protecting our border and investigating cross-border crime. With the ongoing crisis of unaccompanied children crossing the border, we are reminded how difficult their mission is and so critical to our national security. However, since the Department of Homeland Security was created in 2002, the agency, which has significantly grown and evolved over the years, has never been formally authorized by Congress. Today, the House passed legislation that provides the necessary statutory authorization that will protect the agency's mission by providing our officers and agents proper authorities to carry out their important work.”

The House also approved by a vote of 400 to 0, H.R. 3202, the Essential Transportation Worker Identification Credential Assessment Act, introduced by Subcommittee Ranking Member Jackson-Lee, to require the Secretary of Homeland Security to prepare a comprehensive security assessment of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program. Subcommittee Chairman Miller and Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (D-MS) joined in sponsoring the bill.

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