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King, Homeland Security Republicans Introduce DHS Authorization Legislation

Press Release

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Today, U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, along with other Republican Members of the Committee, introduced the "Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act of 2012" (H.R. 3116), fiscally responsible legislation that authorizes key programs and missions within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and provides DHS with necessary guidance, tools, and resources to help secure our homeland from terrorist attack.

The Committee will mark up H.R. 3116 on Wednesday, October 12, at 10 a.m.

Chairman King said: "Ten years after the attacks of 9/11, the threat of terrorist attack from al-Qaeda, its affiliates, and its adherents continues. The Department of Homeland Security is a vital partner in U.S. efforts to combat this threat and protect the lives of Americans.

"This legislation will strengthen the mission of the Department, encourage efficiencies and reduce waste. The Department of Homeland Security has not had an authorization bill since the Department was established in 2003, and passing this legislation will provide much needed direction for the Department. This introduction and forthcoming markup is yet another example of robust legislative oversight of DHS under Republican leadership. Previously, in each year of Republican majority (2005 and 2006), Republican Committee leadership ensured that the Committee passed a DHS authorization bill. Yet during the four years that Democrats were in the majority, the Committee only once (2007) passed an authorization bill.

"During the drafting of this legislation, I have sought to have a bipartisan, bicameral process, and have worked closely with Chairman Lieberman and Ranking Member Collins and will continue to do so as we all work to get an authorization bill enacted into law."

H.R. 3116:

addresses the threat of domestic radicalization, requiring the Secretary to designate an official to coordinate the Department's efforts to counter Islamist homegrown violent extremism, particularly violence resulting from the ideology of al-Qaeda and its affiliates;

* requires a reexamination of the conclusions and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission to determine how the ideology and forces that attacked the U.S. homeland on 9/11 have evolved over the last decade and whether our homeland approach has adequately adapted to that change;
* further integrates the Department and dispels the culture of stove-piped components, which leads to inefficiencies;
* better integrates Departmental operations by ensuring that the Department's chief operating officers will directly oversee the operations of their counterparts in the components;
* creates an Acquisition Review Board that will centralize departmental oversight of all acquisitions to eradicate wasteful spending, and requires the Department to independently verify the integrity of its major acquisitions and to notify Congress of any major acquisition;
* strengthens border security by requiring a strategy for gaining operational control of the border; requiring interdepartmental and interagency consultation of border security technology; and allowing for the Border Patrol to have regular access to Federal borderlands;
* expresses the Committee's continued support for first responder grant programs and provides additional direction to the Department regarding the administration and permitted uses of these funds;
* directs the Department to provide assurances that it is expeditiously working to develop and implement measures and metrics for the evaluation of grant expenditures;
* improves U.S. efforts to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) attack in the United States;
* authorizes the Securing the Cities Program, which helps prevent a nuclear or radiological attack in New York City, and expands the program to other high-risk metropolitan areas;
* requires the Department's Science and Technology (S & T) Directorate to undertake strategic planning to define its homeland security needs and priorities, and requires greater involvement from the private sector;
* strengthens S & T's role in technology acquisition and helps the Department's operational components avoid costly failures in deploying ineffective or premature technologies;
* provides that any person who, in good faith, reports suspected terrorism activity to law enforcement cannot be sued for making that report.

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