CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Monday, July 27, 2015, the House will consider H.R. 998, the Preclearance Authorization Act of 2015, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 998 was introduced on February 13, 2015 by Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) and was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security, and in addition to, the Committee on Ways and Means. The Committee on Homeland Security ordered the bill reported, as amended, by voice vote on June 25, 2015.
H.R. 998 sets forth the conditions under which the Secretary of Homeland Security may establish preclearance facilities, conduct preclearance operations, and provide customs services outside the United States. Specifically, the bill:
Preclearance operations involve the inspection of travelers and property by CBP officers in foreign locations prior to travel to the United States. This concept of pushing the borders of the United States outward is meant to detect and deter threats before they reach American soil. The primary function of any preclearance operation is to enhance national security by preventing terrorists and other inadmissible persons and goods from entering the United States while continuing to facilitate the expedient processing of persons eligible to travel to the United States. CBP operates 16 preclearance facilities in Canada, the Bahamas, Aruba, Ireland, and most recently the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In 2013, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) established preclearance operations at Abu Dhabi International Airport in the UAE. The CBP preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi was established under a reimbursable agreement between DHS and the UAE, under which the UAE government reimburses CBP up to 85 percent for personnel and other costs. This legislation, similar to H.R. 3488 introduced in the 113th Congress, was introduced as a result of significant concerns that the agreement was executed without suitable congressional notification or an adequate security justification for establishing preclearance operations in Abu Dhabi. DHS has indicated its intent to enter into additional negotiations with the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Turkey, Spain, Belgium, Japan, Sweden, Norway, and the Dominican Republic to establish preclearance facilities in those countries.
In the 113th Congress, the House of Representatives passed nearly identical legislation, H.R. 3488, by voice vote on July 8, 2014. The Senate did not act on the bill before Congress adjourned.
 See House Report 114-219 at 9.
 Id at 4.
 Id at 4 and 5.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing H.R. 998 would not significantly affect DHS spending. Enacting this legislation 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.