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GOP-led House Homeland Security Committee clears security legislation

Rep. Michael McCaul

The House Homeland Security Committee on October 29 passed legislation -- including H.R. 2719, H.R. 1095, H.R. 1791 and H.R. 2952 -- to improve transportation security, domestic preparedness and cybersecurity.

The Committee passed H.R. 2719, the Transportation Security Acquisition Reform Act, which was introduced by committee chairman, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) and transportation security subcommittee chairman, Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC).

The bill requires TSA to implement best practices and improve transparency with regard to technology acquisition programs. H.R. 2719, as amended, passed by voice vote.

The committee also approved by voice vote H.R. 1095, which was introduced by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), which directs the TSA Administrator to transfer unclaimed money recovered at airport security checkpoints to nonprofit organizations that provide places of rest and recuperation at airports for members of the armed forces and their families.

“Americans know that TSA must have more accountability and H.R. 2719 is an important step towards that goal,” said Rep. McCaul, in a prepared statement. “The bill requires the agency to develop a long term technology investment plan to serve as a roadmap for industry and justify TSA spending decisions. We must end the irresponsible planning practices that have left almost $200 million worth of equipment sitting in warehouses. It’s time for TSA to plan ahead, and make better use of taxpayer dollars.

“For too long, TSA has failed to meet security performance objectives and has wasted tax dollars through its broken acquisition process, added subcommittee chairman Hudson. “This bill introduces transparency within TSA by requiring them to share a strategic, multiyear technology investment plan and establish principles for managing equipment and inventory. I am proud of the unanimous, bipartisan support this bill received in Committee and I look forward to bringing it to the House floor.

The committee also passed H.R. 1791, the Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act, which was introduced by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and emergency preparedness, response and communications subcommittee chairman, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN). The bill codifies the use of Urban Area Security Initiative and State Homeland Security Grant Program funding for enhancing medical preparedness, medical surge capacity, and mass prophylaxis capabilities. H.R. 1791, as amended, passed by voice vote.

“The importance of medical preparedness was on full display in the aftermath of the horrific Boston Marathon bombings,” noted Rep. Brooks. “This bill provides clear legislative authority for the continued use of Homeland Security Grants to support vital training exercises and the purchase of equipment that protects first responders and citizens in the event of a catastrophic event such as a chemical or biological attack.”

In addition, the committee passed H.R. 2952, the Critical Infrastructure Research and Development Advancement Act of 2013, introduced by cybersecurity, infrastructure protection and security technologies subcommittee chairman, Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), which makes certain improvements in the laws relating to the advancement of security technologies for critical infrastructure protection. H.R. 2952, as amended, passed by voice vote.

“As threats to our critical infrastructure evolve, we rely increasingly on cutting-edge technologies to effectively secure our power grids, wastewater facilities, transportation and communications systems,” said Rep. Meehan. “The legislation advanced by the Committee today reforms and strengthens the research and development process at the Department of Homeland Security. It will help to ensure that our nation's efforts to combat terrorism and cyber threats in the 21st Century are not bogged down by outmoded and bureaucratic processes.”


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