Homeland Security

Committee on Homeland Security

Mike Rogers

The Way Forward on Border Security


Chairman Thompson Statement on President Trump’s Emergency Declaration


(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the below statement on the President’s national emergency declaration: “Thankfully President Trump did not force the government closed and leave the critical national security functions of the Department of Homeland Security unfunded yet again. However, his declaring a national emergency today represents a far greater dangerous abuse of power.” “Far worse than one of his usual temper tantrums, the President is bypassing Congress and the rule of law to try to do what he pleases to fulfill his partisan campaign promises. This clearly violates the law. It must be repeated that there is no emergency to declare. The American people will not be fooled by this menacing and authoritarian action, and I hope both parties in Congress come together to quickly stop it. We must not allow the President to continue his incessant malice to distract from his failed leadership and failed border security policies.” Yesterday, Democrats introduced a package of legislation to protect borderland property owners against the Administration’s land grab as it plans barrier construction in the President’s reckless pursuit of a border wall. #  #  # Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978 Read More

Democrats Introduce Legislative Package to Protect Property Owners Against the Trump Administration’s Border Land Grab


(WASHINGTON) – Today, Democrats introduced three homeland security bills to safeguard the rights of American citizen landowners and protect their property from eminent domain actions by the Trump Administration as it plans barrier construction in the President’s reckless pursuit of a border wall.  Currently, there is nothing to stop the Trump Administration from carrying out a historic Federal land grab. These bills, if enacted, would protect Americans from the costs that President Trump’s border wall would inflict. The three bills are: H.R. 1232 – The Rescinding DHS’ Waiver Authority for Barriers Act, introduced by Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Chairwoman of the Committee’s Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations Subcommittee, will take away overly broad authority granted to the Secretary of Homeland Security to unilaterally waive “all legal requirements” to construct barriers along the border. This authority can include waiving the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act. By rescinding this authority, the Trump Administration will have to comply with all environmental, historical preservation, and related laws intended to protect the border region and its residents. H.R. 1233 – The Borderland Takings Defense Fund Act, introduced by Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), member of the Committee on Homeland Security, will direct DHS to set up a $20 million fund for legal services for low-income landowners whose property the Federal government wants to take for barrier construction. Many private landowners living on the U.S.-Mexico border do not have the means to fight the Federal government. Legal representation is essential.  In fact, media reported that in one case in which landowners had representation, the government ended up paying $4.7 million pursuant to a court order for a parcel of land for which the original offer was just $233,000. H.R. 1234 – The Preventing the Taking of Americans’ Land to Build Trump’s Wall Act, introduced by Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX), will ensure that landowners are fully and properly compensated before the Trump Administration seizes their land to build the President’s wall. Under the current system, the Federal government can make a low offer for property and file condemnation proceedings to quickly take land. “Over the last few months, President Trump and Secretary Nielsen have made no secret of their desire to build a needless and ineffective wall along our Southern Border," said Chairwoman Rice."But what they didn’t tell the American people is that this vanity project would come at the direct expense of our nation's critical environmental protection laws. My bill would ensure that this blatant and reckless disregard for our environment does not go unchecked. It would repeal the Secretary of Homeland Security's authority to unilaterally waive this landmark legislation for the construction of any barrier along the Southern border and require the Trump Administration to comply with all environmental and historic preservation laws intended to protect the border region and its residents. I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this package of bills through our Committee.” “Constructing a wall on the southwest border means that the government will take private land from families and ranchers,” said Congresswoman Demings. “Our nation has a long and dark history of land seizures targeting poor and marginalized communities who lack the resources to fight for fair compensation under the law. My parents, who worked extremely hard and sacrificed much to save enough money to purchase their land, had their property seized after calling it home for over 40 years. They were heartbroken. This bill will create a fund to help private landowners defend their property rights and be justly compensated. Without professional legal assistance—which many families cannot afford—there is a strong likelihood that they will be taken advantage of. In spite of the President’s history of preying on working families, this legislation will give families a fighting chance and help to level the playing field.” “The border wall threatens the rights of landowners all along our southern border. The Federal government can quickly seize their land and simply promise future compensation,” said Congressman Vela. “This bill bars such practices and prohibits the Federal government from taking a private citizen’s land until the landowner receives payment that he or she accepts as just compensation.” “Democrats support proven and effective border security programs, but we will not sit idly by while the Administration aggressively takes the land it wants from border landowners just to fulfill a campaign promise,” said Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS). “The timely homeland security legislation introduced today would protect the property rights of thousands of American citizens.” The Rescinding DHS’ Waiver Authority for Barriers Act Fact Sheet The Rescinding DHS’ Waiver Authority for Barriers Act Text The Borderland Takings Defense Fund Act Fact Sheet The Borderland Takings Defense Fund Act Text The Preventing the Taking of Americans’ Land to Build Trump’s Wall Act Fact Sheet The Preventing the Taking of Americans’ Land to Build Trump’s Wall Act Text #  #  # Media contacts: (Homeland) Adam Comis at 202-225-9978 (Rice) Michael Aciman at 202-225-5516 (Demings) Dan Gleick at 202-225-2176 (Vela) Mickeala Carter at 202-225-9901 Read More

Chairman Thompson Statement on Brock Long Resignation


(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the below statement on the resignation of FEMA Administrator Brock Long: “I hope the Administration will be forthcoming with Congress as to the reason for Mr. Long’s abrupt departure.  I also hope that the President will quickly nominate a capable replacement who has proven track record of emergency management.  The American public cannot afford a leadership gap at FEMA given the increasing devastation caused by natural disasters and after the inadequate federal response to Hurricane Maria in 2017.” #  #  # Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978 Read More

Defending Our Democracy: Building Partnerships to Protect America’s Elections (Updated)


Chairmen DeFazio, Thompson Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Bolster Funding for TSA and Its Workforce


(WASHINGTON) – Chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security Bennie Thompson (D-MS) today introduced legislation with Congressman John Katko (R-NY) to bolster funding for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and its workforce, ensuring that the agency has the necessary funds and resources to secure America’s air travelers and pay its dedicated Transportation Security Officers (TSO). Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) has introduced companion legislation in the Senate. In 2013, Congress began diverting one-third of the revenue collected from airline passenger security fees to pay for unrelated government spending. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, $1.36 billion will be diverted away from aviation security. More than $19 billion in total will be diverted by FY 2027 unless current law is changed. The Funding for Aviation Screeners and Threat Elimination Restoration (FASTER) Act, H.R. 1171, would eliminate this diversion, ensure that passenger security fees go solely towards aviation security, and prevent Congress from raiding the funds in the future. The legislation would also give TSA access to September 11 Security Fee revenue during a lapse in appropriations, giving TSA much-needed flexibility to pay TSOs in the event of a future shutdown. “A stable, well-funded TSA is a critical component of our nation’s security,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio, Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “The FASTER Act will ensure that TSA gets the full funding that it needs—funding that is already paid by consumers—to invest in state-of-the equipment and hire additional staff in order to make air travel not only safer, but more efficient. In an era where government shutdowns are becoming more of the norm rather than the exception, TSA needs the ability to provide some financial stability to its hard-working TSOs, who are amongst the lowest-paid federal employees.” “It defies common sense that a big chunk of air passenger security fees are not going towards aviation security and the functions of the Transportation Security Administration,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.  “Alarmingly, billions have been diverted from TSA in recent years towards other purposes.  This became even more apparent during the previous Trump shutdown when TSA was one of the impacted government agencies.  This bill we are introducing again will allow TSA to retain the fees it collects so it can properly staff airports around the country, operate as efficiently as possible, and effectively secure the American public.” “Since coming to Congress, I’ve raised serious concerns about the need to improve our aviation security,” said Rep. John Katko (R-NY). “The FASTER Act achieves this goal by redirecting revenues accumulated by security fees and allows TSA to invest in a more robust airport security infrastructure. Ensuring the TSA is fully-staffed and has access to quality resources is essential to our national security, and I am proud to be a co-sponsor of this legislation that improves TSA preparedness.” “As 9/11 made all too clear, transportation security is not optional but absolutely essential for protecting our loved ones in the skies and on the ground,” said Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA). “For the TSA to carry out its mission, it needs ample resources to protect the nation’s transportation system. That’s why I’m proud to co-lead this legislative effort to help ensure that the September 11 Security Fee goes to its intended use – improving security at our airports and in the skies.” “The recent government shutdown underscored the importance of a strong TSA and well-funded aviation infrastructure,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, (D-CT). “The American people rightly expect the September 11th Security Fee be used for its intended purpose: to support the TSA and aviation security measures we all rely on to keep our families and skies safe. This bill will prevent these funds from being raided for other uses, bolstering TSA’s ability to keep the traveling public safe, reducing congestion at our nation’s airports, and securing funding for the salaries of TSA agents—even during a shutdown.”   CONTACT: Beth Schoenbach (DeFazio): 202-225-6416 Adam Comis (Thompson): 202-226-2616 Erin O’Connor (Katko): 202-225-3701 Giselle Barry (Markey): 202-224-2742 Subhan Cheema: 202-224-2823 Read More

Chairs Thompson and Lowey Introduce Bill to Improve TSA Frontline Workforce


(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, along with Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), Chairwoman of the Committee on Appropriations, re-introduced legislation to ensure that Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening workforce employees – or Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) – are afforded the same worker rights and protections afforded to other Federal workers under Title 5 of the U.S. Code. H.R. 1140, the Rights for Transportation Security Officers Act of 2019, will offer TSOs full collective bargaining rights, opportunities to effectively raise issues in dispute to an independent third party, and subjection to the General Services wage system. During the latest government shutdown, TSOs – who are considered “essential” personnel – went without pay for 35 days. Many TSOs had to take second jobs, rely on charities or food banks, or consider leaving TSA for paid work. This extraordinary strain served to magnify the pressures on the TSO workforce, which is already vulnerable to high turnover and low morale. “Our frontline TSOs keep our skies safe every day, while receiving some of the lowest pay and barebones workforce rights in the Federal government,” said Chairman Thompson. “This last Trump Shutdown put on sharp display the incredible amount of stress our TSOs are under. It’s time to bring TSA’s personnel and labor management systems in line with the rest of the federal government under Title 5. By improving TSO workforce protections, we will be improving frontline workforce morale and improving our national security.” “Transportation Security Officers are among the lowest-paid federal employees, and many who were already living paycheck-to-paycheck are still struggling to recover from the damaging 35-day Trump Shutdown,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “These roughly 44,000 federal employees have been denied basic worker rights and protections for far too long, and it is long overdue that they receive the same treatment as their fellow employees across the federal government under Title 5. Our bill would grant TSOs these rights and enhance America’s security by retaining experienced and dedicated officers with improved workforce morale.” H.R. 1140 Fact Sheet H.R. 1140 Bill Text #  #  # Media contact: (Thompson) Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978 (Lowey) Mike Burns at (202) 225-6506 Read More

Chairman Thompson Announces Election Security Hearing (Updated)


(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, announced that the Committee will hold a public hearing next Wednesday on election security entitled Defending Our Democracy: Building Partnerships to Protect America’s Elections.  This hearing will be part of series of hearings the new House Democratic majority is holding on H.R. 1, the For the People Act. Statement from Chairman Thompson: “Election security should not be a partisan issue, but Congress has done far too little to prevent foreign election meddling after Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Leading on this issue for the past two years, Democrats have promised the American people that securing our voting systems and democratic institutions would continue to be a priority this Congress. Holding oversight hearings on potential legislation is making good on this promise. The time to act is now. The 2020 election season has already begun. The American public deserve to be fully confident in the security and integrity of our elections.” WITNESSES: Christopher C. Krebs, Director, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Department of Homeland Security Hon. Thomas Hicks, Chairman, U.S. Election Assistance Commission Hon. Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State Mr. Noah Praetz, Former Director of Elections, Cook County, Illinois Mr. Jake Braun, Executive Director, Cyber Policy Initiative, University of Chicago Hon. John Merrill, Secretary of State, Alabama WHEN: Wednesday, February 13, 10 AM ET WHERE: 310 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C. Live stream and more info will be available here. NOTE: UPDATED TIME, DATE, & LOCATION #  #  # Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978 Read More

Chairman Thompson Announces Border Security Hearing with Secretary Nielsen


(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, announced that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has agreed to testify before the Committee for a public hearing on Wednesday, March 6th at 10am. Statement from Chairman Thompson: “Secretary Nielsen has agreed to come before the Committee on Homeland Security to testify on March 6th. We are giving the Secretary ample time to prepare for this appearance. She should be ready to defend the Administration’s border security actions and its plans to improve its border security agenda going forward. As Chairman of the Committee, I remain committed to the charge that securing the country should be based on intelligence and facts, and not pursuant to a campaign agenda.” #  #  # Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978 Read More

Organizational Meeting for the 116th Congress


Contact Information

H2-176 Ford HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-226-8417
Fax 202-226-3399


Don Bacon


Brian Fitzpatrick


Mike Gallagher


Clay Higgins


Will Hurd


John Katko


Peter King


Debbie Lesko


Michael McCaul


Scott Perry


John Ratcliffe


Mike Rogers


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