WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today the Committee on Homeland Security passed the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (CIPA), important legislation to protect Americans from an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), a threat experts consider one of the most serious risks to our national security. Rep. Trent Franks along with Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul, and Chairman of the Rules Committee, Rep. Pete Sessions, released the following statements:
Congressman Trent Franks: "I sincerely applaud and thank Chairman McCaul and the House Committee on Homeland Security for passing the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (CIPA) out of Committee today. The electric grid is fundamental to our modern way of life and is a vital component of nearly every other critical infrastructure in America. Reducing its vulnerability to naturally occurring or weaponized electromagnetic pulse is a matter of national security.
"Most notably, CIPA directs and empowers the Department of Homeland Security to harden and protect our critical infrastructure including power production, generation, and distribution systems. I'm encouraged by this movement and expect my colleagues in the House of Representatives to take this decisive step to protect our nation when CIPA comes to the Floor for a vote." | Contact: Destiny Decker (202) 225-4576
Chairman Michael McCaul: "Experts have warned us about the threat of EMP events to our critical infrastructure. Such an event could severely disrupt all Americans’ way of life. The impact could cause serious damage to the Nations’ critical infrastructure making this vitally important to our homeland security defenses. The Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, which passed through my Committee, is a huge step forward in our resiliency and preparedness from an EMP event. I appreciate Congressman Franks’ dedication and collaboration with me to address this vital national security matter." | Contact: Susan Phalen (202) 226-8477
Chairman Pete Sessions: “Today’s passage of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act is an important first step towards protecting our nation’s critical infrastructure. I applaud my friend Congressman Trent Franks’ hard work on this important issue and I wholeheartedly support this bill so that we can secure our electrical grid, educate the public about this potential threat, and implement effective measures to protect our nation’s critical infrastructure.” | Contact: Caroline Boothe (202) 225-2231
WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the threats posed by homegrown violent extremists amplifying by the day, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, today introduced legislation to significantly raise countering violent extremism as a key priority at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Countering Violent Extremism Act of 2015, H.R. 2899, establishes a new office within DHS to be headed by an Assistant Secretary who reports directly to the Secretary.
Chairman McCaul has been sharply critical of the Administration’s lackluster efforts to counter the growing epidemic of violent extremism. Currently, the Department has only a handful of fulltime staff dedicated to a crisis that threatens all Americans and is increasing by the day.
“We have arrested more people in the United States this year who have been inspired by ISIS than there are officials working to keep ISIS from radicalizing Americans,” said Chairman McCaul. “Terrorists at home and overseas are bringing the battle into our homes through the internet. We cannot afford to complacently watch the threats mushroom. It is time for action, and to treat this issue like the priority that it is,” he said.
Islamist extremists utilize social media and online propaganda to communicate with potential recruits inside the United States, who may attempt to join extremist groups abroad or carry out attacks here at home.
“These terrorists prey on potential recruits online, and after they spend hours on the internet, reading and chatting in dark spaces with terrorists, it is too late,” said McCaul. “We have to work on the front end to prevent the radicalization from happening in the first place,” he said.
The Countering Violent Extremism Act will:
· Authorizes the Office of Coordination for Countering Violent Extremism within the Department of Homeland Security, increasing the effectiveness and accountability of our counter-violent extremism efforts.
· Establishes the highest-ranking federal official in the entire federal government dedicated to countering the radicalization of Americans, providing much-needed leadership to tackle this complex challenge.
· Creates a counter-messaging program that would use social media platforms and other technologies to actively fight against the brutal propaganda currently being disseminated at our children and others by violent extremists.
· The bill calls for current funds within the Department to be reallocated to create the new office.
This bill helps restrict the flow of terrorist recruits, strengthen communities across the nation, and, most importantly, protect American lives from the growing threat of domestic violent extremism.
To see full text of the CVE bill click here.
Additionally, Chairman McCaul today, announced his committee will soon hold a hearing on countering violent international and domestic terrorism.
The Committee on Homeland Security will meet in open markup session on Thursday, June 25, 2015, at 10:00 a.m., and subsequent days as may be necessary, in 311 Cannon House Office Building to consider the following measures:Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. –A Judge formally sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, released the following statement:
Chairman McCaul: “The appropriate sentencing for the heinous terror attack in Boston is the ultimate punishment of death. Today's sentence makes clear Americans will not tolerate acts of terror and the killing of innocent Americans.”
** The markup will be streamed live here **
Thursday, June 25 at 10:00 a.m. ET
Committee on Homeland Security
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, Chairman
311 Cannon House Office Building
This markup will address a series of ten national security bills. These bills aim at improving security for air travel, pushing out our borders, strengthening the Visa Waiver Program, and protecting our critical infrastructure.
· H.R. 158, the Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., clarifies procedure of banning individuals who are security risks from traveling to the United States, expands the Visa Waiver Program, and strengthens the Electronic System for Travel Authorization in order to improve the United States defense against terrorist and instruments of terror from entering the United States.
· H.R. 455, the Northern Border Security Review Act, introduced by Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct a northern border threat analysis.
· H.R. 998, the Preclearance Authorization Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., creates conditions for the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish preclearance facilities, conduct preclearance operations, and provide customs services outside the United States.
· H.R. 1634, the Border Security Technology Accountability Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., strengthens the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) accountability for the distribution of security technology along the border.
· H.R. 2786, the Cross-Border Rail Security Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Texas, requires the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to submit a report on cross-border rail security.
· H.R. 2127, the Securing Expedited Screening Act, introduced by Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., directs the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to limit access to TSA PreCheck screening to individuals who are enrolled in the PreCheck program, as well as those who have been identified as low-risk passengers.
· H.R. 2750, the Improved Security Vetting for Aviation Workers Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., enhances TSA ability to collect adequate data on aviation workers in order to close gaps the vetting process.
· H.R. 2770, the Keeping our Travelers Safe and Secure Act, introduced by Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y, requires TSA to develop better maintenance programs and improve contract oversight of screening equipment at airports.
· H.R. 2843, the TSA PreCheck Expansion Act, introduced by Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., directs TSA to expand and promote enrollment in the PreCheck program by partnering with the private sector.
· H.R. 1073, the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, introduced by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., secures critical infrastructure against electromagnetic threats.
This hearing will explore the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) efforts to secure government networks in light of the recent data breach on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and DHS witnesses will provide insight on deploying department resources to aid federal and civilian agencies in securing sensitive government information.Read More
This hearing will review the potential threat posed by terrorists exploiting refugee resettlement programs, the challenge of gathering sufficient information to vet them, and what additional risk mitigation measures can be implemented to improve the ability to detect refugee applicants of concern.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives passed four bills today with overwhelming bipartisan votes to curb waste, fraud, and abuse and to increase transparency at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The bills were incorporated in an initiative introduced within the first 100 days of Congress by freshman Members of the Committee on Homeland Security.
Chairman Michael McCaul: “The American people deserve a government that is accountable and transparent. The freshmen on my Committee have put forward common-sense legislation to further this goal and make the Department of Homeland Security a more efficient and effective organization. I look forward to working with our colleagues in the Senate to move these bills to the President’s desk.”
H.R. 1626, the DHS IT Duplication Reduction Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, seeks to reduce duplication of information technology at the department. H.R. 1626 passed the House by voice vote.
H.R. 1633, the DHS Paid Administrative Leave Accountability Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., requires improvements to the tracking and reporting of DHS employees placed on administrative leave, or any other type of paid non-duty status, for personnel matters. H.R. 1633 passed the House by voice vote.
H.R. 1637, the Federally Funded Research and Development Sunshine Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, chairman of the Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies Subcommittee, requires annual reports on the activities and accomplishments of DHS’s federally funded research and development centers. H.R. 1637 passed the House by voice vote.
H.R. 1640, the Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Mark Walker, R- N.C., directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit to Congress a report on DHS’s headquarters consolidation project at St. Elizabeth’s. H.R. 1640 passed the House by voice vote.
The House also passed by voice vote, H.R. 615, the DHS Interoperable Communications Act, introduced by Rep. Donald Payne Jr., D-N.J., H.R. 2390, the Homeland Security University-based Centers Review Act, introduced by Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and H.R. 1646, the Homeland Security Drone Assessment and Analysis Act, introduced by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J.
** The hearings will be streamed live here **
Wednesday, June 24 at 10:00 a.m. ET
Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., Subcommittee Chairman
311 Cannon House Office Building
This hearing will review the potential threat posed by terrorists exploiting refugee resettlement programs, the challenge of gathering sufficient information to vet them, and what additional risk mitigation measures can be implemented to improve the ability to detect refugee applicants of concern.
Note: Chairman Michael McCaul may deliver a statement at this hearing.
Dr. Seth JonesDirector International Security and Defense Policy Center RAND Corporation
Mr. Thomas FuentesFBI Assistant Director (Retired)
Dr. Daveed Gartenstein-RossSenior Fellow Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Wednesday, June 24 at 2:00 p.m. ET
Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies
Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, Subcommittee Chairman
311 Cannon House Office Building
This hearing will explore the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) efforts to secure government networks in light of the recent data breach on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and DHS witnesses will provide insight on deploying department resources to aid federal and civilian agencies in securing sensitive government information.
Note: Chairman Michael McCaul may deliver a statement at this hearing.
Dr. Andy OzmentAssistant Security Office of Cybersecurity and Communications National Protections and Programs Directorate U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Mr. Gregory C. WilshusenDirector Information Security Issues Government Accountability Office
Dr. Daniel M. GersteinThe RAND Corporation
H2-176 Ford HOB
Washington, DC 20515