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Nuclear Terrorism Conventions Implementation and Safety of Maritime Navigation Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SMITH of Texas. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, I introduced this legislation to implement certain provisions of four multilateral counterterrorism treaties that will make America and the world safer.

The significance of this legislation and the bipartisanship demonstrated to get this bill to the House floor is evidenced by those who have joined me as original cosponsors--Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Crime Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner, and Crime Subcommittee Ranking Member Bobby Scott.

Terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction do not recognize international boundaries. The treaties that this legislation relates to are important tools in the fight against terrorism. Each one builds on an existing treaty to which the United States is a party. Implementation of these treaties will enhance the national security of the United States.

This legislation modernizes and strengthens the international counterterrorism and counterproliferation legal framework. The treaties in this legislation complement important U.S. priorities to prevent nuclear terrorism, counterproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and counterterrorism initiatives.

Acceptance of these treaties will reinforce the United States' leadership role in promoting these and other counterterrorism treaties and will likely prompt other countries to join. The treaties are widely supported by the U.S. Departments of State, Justice, and Defense. This legislation strengthens current law and related jurisdictional provisions.

Acceptance of the underlying treaties benefits the United States in many ways. For example, parties to the underlying treaties are required to criminalize certain acts committed by persons who possess or use radioactive material or a nuclear device, and parties are obligated to extradite or prosecute alleged offenders.

As they relate to maritime terrorism, the underlying treaties would treat vessels and fixed maritime platforms as a potential means of conducting terrorism activity and not just as objects of terrorist activity.

The previous administration strongly supported approval of these agreements, which have already received Senate advice and consent. The current administration wants to advance this legislation so that the United States maintains its leadership role in counter-nuclear proliferation efforts and terrorism prevention.

Advancing this legislation strengthens international cooperation and information sharing as it relates to international terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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