In The Wake of Brussels Terror Attacks, Committee Advances Bills to Enhance Defenses Abroad and Protect Americans at Home

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The day after terror attacks in Brussels, Belgium killed dozens and wounded hundreds more, the Homeland Security Committee today advanced seven important pieces of legislation that will help keep America safe. All seven bipartisan bills were voted out of the Committee and are ready for the House Floor. Two of those bills, H.R. 4698 and H.R. 4820, are specifically aimed at bolstering America’s counterterrorism defenses:

H.R. 4698, the Securing Aviation from Foreign Entry Points and Guarding Airports Through Enhanced Security Act of 2016, requires enhanced security assessments at Last Points of Departure (LPD) airports. LPDs are airports overseas from which passengers can fly directly into the United States (Rep. Katko).

H.R. 4820, the Combating Terrorist Recruitment Act of 2016, requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to utilize testimonials from former extremists and defectors to counter-message the Hollywood-style propaganda and recruitment efforts of terrorist groups like ISIS (Rep. Fleischmann).

Chairman McCaul said, “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Belgian people and all affected by yesterday’s attacks. Today we spoke with a bipartisan voice: we will not be intimidated, and we will take immediate steps to ramp up security at home and abroad. Today’s measures are important in helping keep the American people safe from the indiscriminate violence of jihadists. I would like to specifically commend Rep. Katko (R-NY), Rep. McSally (R-AZ), and Rep. Perry (R-PA) for their hard work on these bills—and Rep. Fleischmann (R-TN) for his leadership on countering the terrorist threat.”

Other bills marked up today include:

  • R. 4482, the Southwest Border Security Threat Assessment Act of 2016, introduced by Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to prepare a southwest border threat analysis.
  • R. 4509, the State and High-Risk Urban Area Working Group Act, introduced by Rep. Donald M. Payne Jr. (D-NJ), clarifies membership of State planning committees or urban area working groups for the Homeland Security Grant Program.
  • R. 4549, the Treating Small Airports with Fairness Act of 2016, introduced by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), requires the Transportation Security Administration to conduct security screening at certain airports.
  • R. 4780, the Department of Homeland Security Strategy for International Programs Act, introduced by Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop a comprehensive strategy for Department of Homeland Security operations abroad.
  • R. 4785, the DHS Stop Asset and Vehicle Excess Act, introduced by Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), directs the Under Secretary for Management of the Department of Homeland Security to make certain improvements in managing the Department’s vehicle fleet.