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Congressman Vela Appointed to House Homeland Security Committee

Press Release

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Location: Washington, DC

Will receive a full briefing from Department of Homeland Security regarding issues affecting the U.S.-Mexico border on Thursday.
Brownsville, Texas -- Late last week, Congressman Filemon Vela of the 34th District of Texas was appointed to serve on the House Homeland Security Committee during the 113th Congress by the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. On Thursday, January 10, Congressman Vela will receive a full briefing from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security regarding ongoing efforts to secure the U.S.-Mexico border as well as other efforts being spearheaded by Customs and Border Protection and other key federal agencies.

"I thank the Democratic Leadership and my colleagues for recognizing the need to have a border congressman serve on this important committee that has direct jurisdiction over Homeland Security issues," Vela said. "I look forward to serving on the committee in order to provide the resources, equipment and manpower needed to continue to secure our border while ensuring we move commerce and trade efficiently and effectively into and out of our country.

"This committee assignment is crucial to the work we will be doing in the 113th Congress as it pertains to comprehensive immigration reform and its security aspect. I plan on working with my colleagues to ensure that we find ways to revitalize the U.S.-Mexico economy that is critical for the success of border communities," Vela said.

Congressman Vela replaces longtime Congressman Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, who will no longer serve on the committee after being appointed to the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

"I want to congratulate my friend, Congressman Filemon Vela on his appointment to the House Homeland Security Committee for the 113th Congress. I am confident Congressman Vela will be a strong advocate for the border community and keep our border community safe. As the former Chairman in the 111th Congress and Ranking Member in the 112th to the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, and a resident of a border town, I understand the concerns and issues shared by the constituency in this area," Cuellar said. "I know Mr. Vela will simultaneously work to enhance tourism in the area, improve trade, and secure our borders to benefit the American people and the United States."

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman, Congressman Mike McCaul, R-Austin, welcomed Vela to the committee and said he looked forward to working with him.

"I welcome Congressman Vela to the Committee along with his unique perspective of our border with Mexico," McCaul said. "Securing our borders is a top national security issue, as well as a top priority of the Committee. Rep. Vela comes from a family dedicated to public service in the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas and I look forward to his ideas as we move forward."

Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, was instrumental, as a member of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, in helping Vela land an assignment on the House Homeland Security Committee.

"Congressman Vela's appointment to the Homeland Security Committee places him in the important role of overseeing the laws that are made to protect our nation. Being raised on the Texas border with Mexico, Congressman Vela not only understands the importance of maintaining security, he also comprehends the dynamics in ensuring positive international relations with our neighbors to the north and south," Hinojosa said. "I believe Congressman Vela will be a tremendous asset to the Homeland Security Committee."

The House Homeland Security Committee was established in 2002 to provide Congressional oversight of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and to better protect the American people against any potential threats or attacks. The committee was chartered to hold hearings and craft legislation for issues specific to homeland security. The committee meets in historic Room 311 in the Cannon House Office Building, which houses the notable Peace painting (Walter Lofthouse Dean, 1893).

The House Homeland Security Committee has six subcommittees that specialize in a subset of the Committee's full jurisdiction: Border and Maritime Security; Counterterrorism and Intelligence; Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies; Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications; Oversight and Management Efficiency; and Transportation Security. In the next few weeks, Vela will receive his subcommittee assignments.

For more information about the House Homeland Security Committee, please visit the Committee's website at http://chsdemocrats.house.gov.


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