Homeland Security Committee passes DHS reform legislation

The House Committee on Homeland Security announced on Wednesday that it passed legislation meant to improve chemical facility security, reform the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) purchasing processes and modernize the public warnings system.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the committee chairman, and Rep. Patrick Meehan, the chairman of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies, introduced House Resolution (H.R.) 4007, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program Authorization and Accountability Act of 2014. McCaul said the bill ensures that facilities holding certain amounts of chemicals aren't off the grid and that first responders are prepared to react to terrorist attacks. The bill passed by voice vote.

"The unanimous passage of this legislation today shows that both parties can support common-sense efforts to prevent terrorist attacks at facilities like the fertilizer plant that exploded with catastrophic consequences in West, Texas last year," Meehan said.

The committee also passed H.R. 4228, the DHS Acquisition Accountability and Efficiency Act. McCaul said the bill, which was passed by voice vote, helps to solve procurement delays, cost growth and capability reductions in the DHS through increased accountability.

"Saving taxpayer dollars through improving the management at DHS has been our major focus on the subcommittee," Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency, said. "H.R. 4228 does just that by increasing accountability, discipline, and transparency for DHS's major purchases."

H.R. 3283, the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act of 2013, was also passed by voice vote. The bill directs the DHS to modernize and implement the national integrated public alert and warning system.

"Today, the committee unanimously approved important bipartisan legislation to cut waste at DHS, improve disaster response notifications and to help better secure chemical facilities," McCaul said. "These important bills have broad stakeholder support, and I look forward to their advancement to the House floor."