Crucial Bill to Fight Terrorist Travel Passes House

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  A bill that will help keep terrorists and foreign fighters from entering the United States overwhelmingly passed the U.S. House of Representatives today. The measure was based on key recommendations of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Task Force on Combating Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel. The bipartisan Task Force found that glaring security gaps overseas allow terrorists to cross borders more easily, putting the U.S. homeland in greater danger.

Today’s bill, H.R. 4314, Counterterrorism Screening and Assistance Act of 2016, was introduced by Rep. Lee Zeldin’s (R-NY), co-authored by the House Homeland Security Committee, and marked up by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“Nearly 40,000 jihadists from around the world have gone to fight in Syria and Iraq with groups like ISIS,” said Chairman Michael McCaul. “Today the House acted decisively to shut down the jihadist superhighway that allows extremists to get to their safe havens—and return to the West, prepared to strike America and our allies. This legislation will streamline and elevate U.S. efforts to combat terrorist travel and make sure we are focusing our attention where it is needed most. I would like to thank Chairman Ed Royce, Rep. Lee Zeldin, and Rep. John Katko for their leadership on this issue.”

The legislation:

  • Requires U.S. department and agencies—for the first time ever—to put together a joint plan to stop terrorist travel
  • Accelerates U.S. assistance to the highest-risk countries to better detect and disrupt extremists
  • Establishes minimum international standards for combating terrorism and foreign fighter travel
  • Allows the Secretary of State to suspend assistance to foreign governments that fail to meet these standards
  • Requires State Department to produce an annual “score card” on how countries are fighting terrorist travel