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Nuclear Terrorism Conventions Implementations and Safety of Maritime Navigation Act of 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise in support of H.R. 1073, the Nuclear Terrorism Conventions Implementation and Safety of Maritime Navigation Act. This bipartisan legislation, which was reported favorably by the Judiciary Committee in March, is nearly identical to legislation that the House passed by voice vote in the last Congress.

H.R. 1073 amends the Federal Criminal Code to conform our laws to our Nation's obligations under four international treaties that are part of an important effort to update international law for the post-September 11th era. Two of the treaties, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and the Convention for the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, require party nations to better protect nuclear materials and to punish acts of nuclear terrorism.

Two other treaties, amendments to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation and the Protocol for Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Fixed Platforms, address the use of ships and fixed platforms in terrorist attacks, as well as the transport of weapons, weapons delivery systems, and the transport of terrorist fugitives by sea.

The United States signed these treaties in 2005, and the Senate passed resolutions of advice and consent on all four in 2008. We cannot ratify these agreements, however, until Congress amends the Federal Criminal Code to bring it in line with our new obligations. H.R. 1073 does just that--and nothing more. It amends title 18 of the United States Code to explicitly prohibit acts of terrorism involving radioactive material, provide new security requirements for the use and storage of nuclear materials, and address the use of ships and offshore platforms in terrorist attacks.

With the cooperation of the Justice Department, this bill does not include previously proposed language that was outside the scope of the underlying treaties. For example, the original version proposed by the administration included an expansion of the scope of conduct subject to the death penalty, new wiretap predicates, and authorization for the President to conduct similar agreements in the future without congressional approval. There is no need to argue about these controversial provisions in order to implement the underlying treaties, and those unrelated initiatives have been removed in this version of the bill. So I'm grateful for the spirit of cooperation in which the bill before us has been drafted.

The resulting bipartisan proposal has the full support of the Obama administration. I'm pleased to join my colleagues, the gentleman from Wisconsin, the chair of the Subcommittee on Crime, Mr. Sensenbrenner, along with Ranking Member Conyers and Chairman Goodlatte.

I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 1073. I have one additional speaker, so I will reserve the balance of my time.

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