CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Monday, July 27, 2015, the House will consider H.R. 2206, the State Wide Interoperable Communications (SWIC) Enhancement Act, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 2206 was introduced on May 1, 2015, by Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ) and was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security, which ordered the bill reported, as amended, by voice vote, on May 20, 2015.
H.R. 2206 amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to require recipients of State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) funding to preserve and strengthen interoperable emergency communications capabilities. Specifically, the bill requires states to certify, as part of their applications for SHSGP funding, that the state has designated a Statewide Interoperability Coordinator who is responsible for the daily operations of its interoperability programs.
The bill permits states that lack a statewide coordinator to certify on their SHSGP applications that they are performing the same functions for which such a coordinator would be responsible in a different manner. All states currently have a full or part-time SWIC coordinator or someone fulfilling the role as a collateral duty. These provisions apply to SHSGP grants for which applications are submitted after the bill’s enactment.
The ability of emergency response agencies to communicate effectively, especially during disaster scenarios, has remained a challenge in the years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, “despite the investment of more than $5 billion in grant funding to enhance communications capabilities over the past 10 years . . .” According to the Committee on Homeland Security, “H.R. 2206 recognizes the important role played by Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (SWICs), be it through the development of Statewide Communications Interoperability Plans, coordinating interoperable communications projects and grant requests, or engaging with the First Responder Network Authority as it works to design and build the nationwide public safety broadband network.” The State Homeland Security Grant Program “supports the implementation of state homeland security strategies to address the identified planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercise needs to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism and other catastrophic events.
 House Report 114-165 at 2.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing H.R. 2206 would have no effect on the federal budget because it would not modify the workload of the Department of Homeland Security. Enacting H.R. 2206 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
For questions or further information please contact Jerry White with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.