Committee Approves Bills To Bolster Homeland Security Mission
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House Committee on Homeland Security advanced 12 bills, including five Homeland Republican bills and multiple amendments to strengthen border security, support CISA’s role as the lead agency in cyber incident response, increase oversight and accountability at DHS, and advance U.S. supply chain resilience.
“Homeland Republicans continue to deliver results for the American people aimed at strengthening our homeland security and addressing the challenges we face,” said Ranking Member Katko. “This includes my bill prioritizing the long-term viability of the Shadow Wolves unit by allowing officers to be reclassified as special agents with appropriate authorities and pay. Every day, these officers carry out a difficult mission under increasingly challenging circumstances while providing critical law enforcement expertise to our homeland security apparatus, and we owe it to them to ensure they are properly compensated. Additionally, I commend Reps. Meijer, Van Drew, Cammack, and Bacon for their leadership on these efforts that are only growing in importance. Lastly, I appreciate Chairman Thompson’s continued commitment to working in a bipartisan manner to advance the shared priorities of the committee.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic opened our eyes to the dangers of becoming dependent on untrustworthy countries like China for materials that are critical to the daily lives of Americans,” said Rep. Meijer. “It is clearer now than ever before that economic security is homeland security. This bill would formalize and centralize these important efforts at DHS to ensure that the Department works more efficiently and remains focused on addressing these challenges in the years to come. I appreciate Ranking Member Katko’s efforts and look forward to working with him and the rest of our colleagues to safeguard our nation’s economic and homeland security for future generations.”
“During a time in our nation in which billions and trillions of dollars are being carelessly spent, I am proud to introduce a bill that will provide oversight and accountability within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS),” said Rep. Van Drew. “The bill will also ensure that Congress retains its oversight role by requiring DHS to provide detailed reports and updates to Congress indicating where and how American taxpayer dollars are being spent. I am proud to see the Committee on Homeland Security move this critical legislation.”
“Over the last year during the unprecedented crisis we’ve seen at the southwest border, more than 75 percent of agents in one of the region’s busiest sectors have been pulled off the line to handle the influx of illegal migrants,” Rep. Cammack said. “In September, DHS surged 400 agents to Del Rio, Texas to assist ICE and the U.S. Coast Guard in processing and babysitting, and that’s just one example. Those were 400 agents removed from their areas of responsibility to assist with this current crisis; we need boots back on the ground now. Anything less is unacceptable.”
The Shadow Wolves Enhancement Act (H.R. 5681), introduced by Ranking Member John Katko (R-NY), improves hiring authorities of Shadow Wolves officers that currently limit their ability to be reclassified in the appropriate job series, causing pay and upward mobility limitations. Shadow Wolves officers are part of a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) tactical patrol unit currently operating on the lands of the Tohono O’odham Nation in southern Arizona.
The DHS Trade & Economic Security Council Act of 2021 (H.R. 4476), introduced by Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI), codifies the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) existing Trade and Economic Security Council and the position of Assistant Secretary of Trade and Economic Security within the Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans, which will ensure better preparedness of U.S. supply chains in the face of future pandemics, disasters, and emergencies.
The DHS Acquisition Review Board Act of 2021 (H.R. 5652), introduced by Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), codifies the responsibilities of the DHS Acquisition Review Board to ensure acquisitions are executable and align with strategic DHS initiatives and to conduct reviews of acquisitions to ensure they are progressing in compliance with approved requirements at key points in their life cycle.
The DHS Border Support Services Contract Review Act (H.R. 5683), introduced by Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL), subjects the Department of Homeland Security to reviewing contracts for services at the southern border, specifically to examine the work of contracted workers at intake and processing facilities to force the return of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents to the front lines of the crisis.
The DHS Roles and Responsibilities in Cyber Space Act of 2021 (H.R. 565), introduced by Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE), requires the Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Director of CISA, to submit a report to Congress on the roles and responsibilities of the Department and its components relating to cyber incident response.