CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, February 23, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 4408, the National Strategy to Combat Terrorist Travel Act of 2016. The bill was introduced on February 1, 2016, by Rep. John Katko (R-NY) and was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security, which order the bill reported, by voice vote, on February 2, 2016.
H.R. 4408 requires the President of the United States, acting through the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, to submit to Congress, within 180 days after enactment, a national strategy to combat terrorist travel. The strategy would focus on identifying and strengthening U.S. government efforts to intercept terrorists and foreign fighters and making it more difficult for such individuals to travel domestically and internationally. In addition, implementation plans are required to be created to carry out each part of the strategy.
In March 2015, the Committee on Homeland Security launched a bipartisan Task Force on Combatting Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel. Eight Members of Congress were charged with examining the threat to the United States from foreign fighters.The Task Force assessed domestic and overseas efforts to obstruct terrorist travel and identified potential security gaps. They issued a final report on September 29, 2015.
The Task Force found that it’s been a decade since the U.S. government produced a national strategy to combat terrorist travel—and the threat has changed dramatically since then. Terrorists are luring Westerners, including Americans, in droves to become foreign fighters overseas and are using social media to inspire a new generation of extremist foot soldiers. Yet the Federal government is lagging far behind the threat, and agencies lack clear strategic guidance. The result is that not only are we at greater risk terrorists will slip through the cracks and get into our country, but the lack of coordination also results in waste, overlap, and duplication among departments and agencies.
This bipartisan bill was recommended by the Task Force and requires the White House to assess all of our nation’s programs for obstructing terrorist travel, to identify gaps in our security, and to prioritize resources in a risk-based manner to eliminate vulnerabilities. The bill requires such a strategy in the first year of each Presidential term, accompanied by an actionable implementation plan to be updated annually.
 See Final Report on the Task Force on Combating Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel at 2.
A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate is currently unavailable. However H.R 4408 does not authorize new funding and requires the President and Secretary to carry out these requirements using currently appropriated funds.
For questions or further information please contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 3-1555.