COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY APPROVES HALL BORDER SECURITY BILL
Today, the Committee on Science and Technology unanimously approved H.R. 3916, legislation introduced by Ranking MemMember Ralph Hall (R-TX), which supports the development of technologies to assist our border patrol agents.
"I believe this is a crucial issue for this Committee to address and am very pleased to see H.R. 3916 pass out of Committee today with unanimous support," Hall said. "I wrote this bill to ensure that we are meeting the research and technology needs of the over 630,000 brave men and women protecting our borders in the Coast Guard and Border Patrol. We have nearly 7,500 miles of land border with Canada and Mexico, over which half a billion people and over two million rail cars pass per year. In addition we have over 300 ports that see over nine million cargo containers each year."
Hall continued, "The provisions in this bill will help local, State, and National agents control our borders, and will also ensure that we carefully plan and coordinate border technologies so that we protect the American taxpayer."
The goal of H.R. 3916 is to improve long term planning for research and development at the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T), especially in the area of border and maritime security technology. The bill authorizes specific border security technology programs, and instructs DHS S&T to improve processes for setting research priorities and serving the needs of technology end users.
One of the bills original cosponsors, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), who is also Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology, today, offered an amendment that was approved by voice vote. The amendment improves the legislation by supporting a study to research the use of mobile biometric technologies for border patrol agents in the field between ports of entry.
Specifically, HR 3916 focuses on four key long-term technologies that could substantially improve the security of our nation's borders: unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), tunnel detection, anti-counterfeit technology, and biometric technologies.
The following Republicans also signed on as cosponsors: Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD); Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL); Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA); Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA); Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX); Rep. Michael Conaway (R-TX); Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL); Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA); Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX); Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC); Rep Sam Johnson (R-TX); Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC); Randy Neugebauer (R-TX); Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA); Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI); Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX); Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE); and Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK).
Democratic Committee Members who are also cosponsors include Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) and Technology and Innovation Subcommittee Chairman David Wu (D-OR).