CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Wednesday, May 30, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 3140, the Mass Transit Intelligence Prioritization Act, under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority for approval. The bill was originally introduced on October 6, 2011, by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) and was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security. The committee held a mark-up session on March 28, 2012, and ordered the bill to be reported by voice vote.
H.R. 3140 would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to make it a priority to assign DHS officers and intelligence analysts, including from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), to participating state and urban area fusion centers located in high-risk jurisdictions with mass transit systems to enhance security of such systems by assisting law enforcement authorities in identifying, investigating, and otherwise interdicting persons, weapons, and contraband that pose a threat to homeland security.
The bill would also make a primary responsibility of such officers and analysts to create mass transit intelligence products that do the following: (1) assist law enforcement agencies in deploying their resources most efficiently to help detect and interdict terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, and contraband at U.S. mass transit systems; (2) promote more consistent and timely dissemination of mass transit security-relevant information among jurisdictions with such systems; and (3) enhance DHS's situational awareness with respect to the threat of terrorist acts at or involving U.S. mass transit systems.
According to H. Rept. 112-467, “Mass transit systems have consistently been targets for terrorists and have been the site of some of the most horrific acts of terror since 9/11. In 2004, al Qaeda detonated multiple explosives during morning rush hour on the packed commuter trains of Madrid, Spain, killing 191 people. A little more than a year later, in July 2005 in London, a terrorist cell linked to al Qaeda carried out four-suicide bombings--three on the London Underground and one on a double decker bus--killing more than 50 individuals. In September 2009, Najibullah Zazi was arrested in New York City for allegedly plotting to blow up New York City subways. In addition, intelligence gathered from Osama bin Laden's compound showed al Qaeda's continued intent to strike mass transit.
This bill further requires that the officers assigned to these fusion centers have, as a primary responsibility, the production of mass transit intelligence products in coordination with officials from the State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. Such a requirement will help them better deploy their resources to most efficiently detect and stop acts of terrorism against mass transit systems.”
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate states: “implementing H.R. 3140 would have no significant impact on the federal budget. According to the department, the requirement to prioritize staff assignments to high-risk fusion centers with mass transit systems is consistent with current administrative practices, and CBO does not expect that codifying that requirement would significantly affect the number of staff assigned to fusion centers or the federal spending for related activities. Enacting H.R. 3140 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.”