Congress Has Taken Action to Address the Threat of Radical Islamist Terror
The House continues to pass legislation to bolster our efforts to fight terror
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In light of the most recent terror attack in Nice, France, and as Congress adjourns for August recess, it’s important to take stock of the hard work the House of Representatives has done and continues to do to address the immediate threat we face from radical Islamist terrorists. The House has passed dozens of bills aimed at bolstering our efforts to fight terror at home and abroad—and the House Homeland Security Committee will continue to lead the charge to do more to protect our homeland and our allies.
Chairman McCaul: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this horrific terror attack, their families, and the French people. But condolences cannot contain the threat, and our sympathies will not provide security; only action can. That is why the House has passed important legislation to protect the American people against the terror threat and to promise our allies that we stand with them in this fight against radicalism and terror.
“As a civilized world, we cannot allow these heinous attacks to become the new normal. We cannot afford to become numb to the horror. So today, we must also make another promise—a promise to our enemies: justice will be brought to your doorstep. Americans are not intimidated by these fanatics. In fact, their violence stirs us to action, and their hate hardens our resolve. Sadly, our President continues to watch from the sidelines and is willfully blind to the nature of the threat. So we must be clear: our enemy is radical Islamist terrorism, and our war against these fanatics knows no boundaries.
“We will not cower in the face of this evil. We must act. Here at home, the House will continue working to block all terrorist pathways into our country, keep extremists from recruiting our people, and make sure our frontline defenders are prepared to fight terror when it hits our city streets. But in the long run, America must lead the world in taking the fight to our enemies—wherever they emerge.”
Select Counterterrorism Bills Passed By the House
H.R. 158, Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI), enhances security of the Visa Waiver Program to improve intelligence information sharing and to keep terrorists from entering the United States undetected (P.L. 114-113).
H.R. 3503, Department of Homeland Security Support to Fusion Centers Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), would require an assessment of intelligence fusion centers nationwide and would increase accountability in the system for granting security clearances to State and local law enforcement.
H.R. 3598, Fusion Center Enhancement Act, introduced by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), streamlines and enhances information sharing and counterterrorism cooperation with state and local law enforcement nationwide and bolsters fusion centers.
H.R. 4038, American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), would put in place the most robust national-security vetting process in history for any refugee population and it gives the American people the assurances needed that we will do everything possible to prevent terrorists from reaching our shores.
H.R. 4239, Tracking Foreign Fighters in Terrorist Safe Havens Act, introduced by Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), would require the intelligence community to enhance its tracking of foreign fighter flows to and from terrorist safe havens abroad.
H.R. 4240, No Fly for Foreign Fighters Act, introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), would require a comprehensive review of the Terrorist Screening Database to ensure past weaknesses have been addressed to identified other vulnerabilities which should be mitigated.
H.R. 4314, Counterterrorism Screening and Assistance Act of 2016, introduced by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and Rep. John Katko (R-NY), would accelerate the transfer of certain border security systems to foreign partner governments and ramp up U.S. efforts to enhance counterterrorism screening abroad—to keep terrorists from reaching America’s shores.
H.R. 4401, Amplifying Local Efforts to Root out Terror (ALERT) Act, introduced by Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), “scales-up” efforts to counter terrorist recruitment nationwide by allowing the government to better use existing fusion centers for outreach.
H.R. 4402, Foreign Fighter Review Act of 2016, introduced by Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), requires top-to-bottom Administration review of instances where Americans became foreign fighters; requirement to identify and close security gaps.
H.R. 4403, Enhancing Overseas Traveler Vetting Act, introduced by Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), authorizes the development of open-source software based on certain systems of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State to facilitate the vetting of travelers against terrorist watch lists and law enforcement databases, enhance border management, and improve targeting and analysis.
H.R. 4404, Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel Exercise Act, introduced by Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), requires the U.S. government to conduct an exercise related to terrorist and foreign fighter travel to find and eliminate vulnerabilities in America’s defenses against terrorist infiltration.
H.R. 4407, Counterterrorism Advisory Board Act, introduced by Rep. John Katko (R-NY), establishes the primary advisory board in the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate and integrate departmental intelligence, activities, and policy related to counterterrorism.
H.R. 4408, National Strategy to Combat Terrorist Travel Act of 2016, introduced by Rep. John Katko (R-NY), requires a U.S. national strategy on combating terrorist travel—for the first time in a decade—and requires future administrations to put forward regular action plans for fixing U.S. vulnerabilities to terrorist infiltration.
H.R. 4509, State and High-Risk Area Working Group Act, introduced by Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ), better integrates state and local law enforcement and first responders into decision-making about state, regional, and local homeland security plans.
H.R. 4698, Securing Aviation from Foreign Entry Points and Guarding Airports Through Enhanced Security Act of 2016, introduced by Rep. John Katko (R-NY), enhances aviation by requiring airport security assessments and a security coordination enhancement plan (to be signed by the President on 7/15/16).
H.R. 4820, Combating Terrorist Recruitment Act, introduced by Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to use the testimonials of former or estranged violent extremists or their associates in order to counter terrorist recruitment.
H.R. 5056, Airport Perimeter and Access Control Security Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. William Keating (D-MA), requires TSA to update risk assessments at airports—specifically along airport perimeters and points of access to secure areas—and report to Congress strategic plans to increase security measures.
H.R. 5471, Countering Terrorist Radicalization Act, introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), combines three previously passed Homeland Security Committee counterterrorism bills to ramp up efforts to stop Islamist terrorist groups from radicalizing Americans and to combat their propaganda.
The Committee has released several other products that shed light on the threat and provide recommendations for Congress and this Administration
Bipartisan Task Force on Combating Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel Report: The Task Force conducted an extensive, six month review to assess the severity of the threat from individuals who leave home to join jihadist groups overseas and to identify potential security gaps.
Encryption Report: Terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have sparked a public debate on the use of encryption in our society because the attackers used encrypted communications to evade detection, a phenomenon known as “going dark.” The Majority Staff of the House Homeland Security Committee released a new report entitled, “Going Dark, Going Forward: A Primer on the Encryption Debate.” This first Congressional in-depth analysis of the issue summarizes the Committee’s findings, based on more than 100 meetings and briefings Committee staff and Members have held with key stakeholders over the past year.
Terror Gone Viral Report: This report examines the 75 ISIS-linked terrorist plots against the West—and plainly shows that the United States is overwhelmingly the group’s main target.
Syrian Refugee Flows Report: This report presents the preliminary findings of a nearly year-long investigation into the counterterrorism challenges associated with Syrian refugee flows to the United States and into Europe.
Monthly Terror Threat Snapshots: This monthly assessment of the growing threat America, the West, and the world face from ISIS and other Islamist terrorists.
Trip Report: Homeland Security Bipartisan Delegation Examines the Spread of Islamist Terror and Threats to the U.S. and Allies.