House Passes Landmark Department of Homeland Security Authorization
Washington, D.C. – Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, our nation’s leaders created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to better protect our country. Fifteen years later, the Department still has not been reauthorized by Congress. Reforming and improving DHS through a first-ever comprehensive reauthorization is key to staying ahead of ever-evolving threats. Today, under the bipartisan leadership of House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (D-MS), and seven other Committee Chairmen with jurisdiction over DHS, the House passed H.R. 2825, the Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act of 2017, which is on track to be the first-ever reauthorization of the Department. The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support of 386-41.
Chairman McCaul: “Our adversaries are determined to attack us and disrupt our way of life. To stay ahead of America’s threats, we need a national security apparatus that can best adapt to new challenges as they arise. The threats we face have evolved in the past 15 years, and we must not only keep up with the evolution of the threats, we need to stay in front of them. The American people deserve the strongest possible and most efficient Department of Homeland Security, and this legislation will help provide just that.
“Today’s reauthorization of the Department is a major bipartisan accomplishment and an example of what Congress can achieve when we put the safety and security of our country ahead of partisan politics. I would like to thank Secretary Kelly for his leadership on this important issue, as well as Speaker Ryan, Majority Leader McCarthy, and the entire leadership team. Other House Committee Chairmen with jurisdiction over DHS and members of the Homeland Security Committee on both sides of the aisle, especially Ranking Member Thompson, were also vital in coordinating this effort.”
Ranking Member Thompson: “Today’s passage of bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security will help us ensure, nearly 16 years after the September 11th attacks, that DHS is positioned to carry out its diverse mission and support Homeland Security capabilities at the State and local level. This bill places an emphasis on bolstering acquisitions management, employee engagement, policy-making, stakeholder engagement, and civil rights and civil liberties. I am particularly pleased that when it comes to first responder grant programs, it provides significant resources to state and local jurisdictions to prepare for potential attacks or disasters. I am proud of the work that went into this legislation from my Committee colleagues on both sides of the aisle and I want to thank Chairman McCaul for his commitment to an open and bipartisan process.”
Note: Earlier this year, under the signature of Speaker Ryan, Chairmen of eight different Committees came together to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in support of a reauthorization of DHS Headquarters and its components on a regular basis. When this reauthorization moves forward and is signed into law, it will be the first time in 15 years the Department of Homeland Security has been reauthorized.