Homeland Republicans Introduce First Bills as Part of American Security Agenda
WASHINGTON – House Homeland Security Committee Republican members recently introduced bills as part of the American Security Agenda.
Former Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) introduced H.R. 3377, the Biometric Identification Transnational Migration Alert Program (BITMAP) Authorization Act of 2019; Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations Subcommittee Ranking Member Clay Higgins (R-La.) introduced H.R. 3273, the Combating TCOs Act of 2019; Rep. John Joyce (R-Pa.) introduced H.R. 3318, the Emerging Transportation Security Threats Act of 2019; Oversight, Management, and Accountability Ranking Member Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) introduced H.R. 3413 the DHS Acquisition Reform Act.
“DHS must be adequately prepared and properly resourced to combat new and evolving threats to the Homeland,” House Homeland Security Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) said. “These bills make great strides to advance this goal by identifying new terror threats, combating transnational criminal organizations, staying ahead of emerging threats to our U.S. transportation, and reforming the DHS acquisition process. I applaud Reps. McCaul, Higgins, Joyce and Crenshaw for their leadership on these issues.”
“Terror threats are constantly evolving, and our adversaries are becoming more agile and illusive” McCaul said. “Specifically, they are exploiting the illicit pathways in South and Central America to gain access to our nation. To combat this threat, we must leverage our international partnerships and use the most advanced technology to our advantage. ICE’s BITMAP program shares valuable data from law enforcement officers in participating countries with our own law enforcement and intelligence agencies. In the last few years alone, BITMAP has identified several hundred known or suspected terrorists in addition to criminals, drug smugglers, human traffickers, murderers, child predators, and dangerous gangs like MS-13. It is critical that DHS and its partners have every tool necessary to protect American citizens and I am glad to introduce this legislation with Senator McSally, a former colleague of mine on the House Homeland Security Committee. I look forward to reviewing this bipartisan legislation in committee and getting it to the floor, so we can improve our intelligence sharing capabilities and better protect our homeland.”
“Transnational criminal organizations facilitate the illicit transfer of humans, drugs, and weapons across our borders and through ports of entry,” Higgins said. “Our legislation positions DHS to better work with local, state, and international security partners on counterterrorism operations and efforts to target criminal cartels. This is a necessary action to secure our borders and protect the homeland.”
“It is crucial that we take a proactive look at our infrastructure and how it could be vulnerable to future attacks,” Joyce said. “With the evolving tactics by terror organizations, America needs to be prepared, and make sure our security technology outpaces the means our adversaries have to do us harm. To develop strategies to combat our vulnerabilities, we will need to partner with stakeholders in the transportation industry. It is my hope that my colleagues in the House will act swiftly on this critical legislation so we can better protect the American people.”
“As an advocate of fiscal responsibility, I am proud to introduce H.R. 3413 in a continued effort to eliminate wasteful spending in DHS’s acquisitions process and keep those in charge of the purse strings accountable,” Crenshaw said. “It will build upon H.R. 2609, which passed the House unanimously and creates the Acquisition Review Board. By clearly establishing the roles and responsibilities of the review board members, this bill will make the process more effective, efficient and responsible.”
H.R. 3377 – Biometric Identification Transnational Migration Alert Program (BITMAP) Authorization Act of 2019 formally authorizes the BITMAP program. BITMAP facilitates the sharing of biometric and biographic information of foreign nationals to identify and screen such nationals for terrorism and threats to national security before migrants reach our borders
H.R. 3273 – the Combating TCOs Act of 2019 establishes interagency task forces led by DHS components to work with international, state, local, tribal, and other agency counterparts to create a holistic approach to combating and dismantling transnational criminal organizations that operate across the international borders of the United States.
H.R. 3318 – the Emerging Transportation Security Threats Act of 2019 creates a task force to analyze emerging and potential threats to transportation security and requires the TSA to take action to mitigate such threats.
H.R. 3413 – the DHS Acquisition Reform Act reforms the DHS acquisition process to put in place important management controls and performance requirements to ensure acquisition of critical new technologies come in on time and on budget.
Background: The American Security Agenda is a comprehensive legislative effort from Homeland Security Republicans to combat new and evolving threats to our homeland. The agenda is grounded on three pillars: granting DHS the authority it needs to stay ahead of emerging threats; providing DHS and its state, local, and private sector partners with the resources they need to build and maintain a robust capacity to deter acts of terrorism; and reforming DHS structure and management to ensure it properly positioned to combat the constantly evolving threat to the homeland.