Homeland Security Committee Passes Legislation on Public Alerts and Warnings, Intelligence Sharing, TSA
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Washington, D.C. – The House Committee on Homeland Security, chaired by Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), on March 28 passed, on a bipartisan basis, multiple homeland security bills, including legislation to enhance alert and warning capabilities; bills to improve DHS intelligence sharing on weapons of mass destruction and mass transit; and a measure to enforce good government policy by providing money left at airport checkpoints to the USO.
The Committee passed H.R. 3563, the “Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act of 2011,” introduced by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, and passed by the Subcommittee in December. H.R. 3563, as amended, requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to modernize and implement the national integrated public alert and warning system (IPAWS) through the establishment of common alert and warning protocols to ensure the timely and effective distribution of alerts and warnings.
Subcommittee Chairman Bilirakis said: “The public alert and warning systems have not been modernized in decades, and we must ensure that alerts and warnings work reliably, effectively, and efficiently so that we can make information available to the largest number of people possible, while also protecting and ensuring individual privacy.”
H.R. 3563, as amended, passed by voice vote.
The Committee also passed H.R. 2764, the “WMD Intelligence and Information Sharing Act of 2011,” introduced by Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, and passed by the Subcommittee in November. H.R. 2764 provides guidance for ongoing activities for DHS to engage in and support intelligence activities related to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats and to share intelligence with partners at the Federal, state, and local levels.
Subcommittee Chairman Meehan said: “Intelligence sharing and analysis in real time is critical to protecting our country from a potential attack. I’m pleased the Committee passed this legislation, and urge all of my colleagues to support it when it comes before the House. This bill will allow our intelligence community – one of the most sophisticated in the world – to be as efficient as possible and ensure that intelligence regarding dangerous weapons — specifically chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear — is getting to the appropriate Federal, state, and local officials.”
H.R. 2764, as amended, passed by voice vote.
In addition, the Committee passed H.R. 2179, introduced by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) and passed this month by the Subcommittee on Transportation Security, chaired by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL). H.R. 2179, as amended, directs the TSA Administrator to transfer unclaimed money recovered at airport security checkpoints to United Service Organizations (USO), Incorporated.
H.R. 2179, as amended, passed by voice vote.
Also, the Committee passed H.R. 3140, the “Mass Transit Intelligence Prioritization Act,” introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA). The legislation, which was passed by the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence in November, directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to prioritize the assignment of officers and analysts to fusion centers to enhance the security of mass transit systems. The bill passed by voice vote.
Each of the measures passed by the Committee at the markup will be sent to the Full House for consideration.
For more information on the markup, including roll call votes, visit the Committee on Homeland Security website.