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Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

House Homeland Security Committee passes bills to enhance nationwide defense and protection

Michael McCaul

The House Homeland Security Committee, chaired by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), recently voted seven bipartisan bills out of committee aimed at strengthening the nation’s counterterrorism defense while keeping Americans safe.

Two bills are specifically aimed at counterterrorism initiatives.

The Securing Aviation from Foreign Entry Points and Guarding Airports Through Enhanced Security Act of 2016, H.R. 4698, would require enhanced security assessments at last points of departure (LPD) airports. LPDs are overseas airports where passengers can fly directly into the United States, while the Combating Terrorist Recruitment Act of 2016, H.R. 4820, requires the Department of Homeland Security to utilize testimonials from former extremists and defectors to counter-message the Hollywood-style propaganda and recruitment efforts of terrorist groups like ISIS.

“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Belgian people and all affected by yesterday’s attacks,” McCaul said. “Today we spoke with a bipartisan voice: we will not be intimidated, and we will take immediate steps to ramp up security at home and abroad. Today’s measures are important in helping keep the American people safe from the indiscriminate violence of jihadists. I would like to specifically commend Rep. Katko (R-NY), Rep. McSally (R-AZ), and Rep. Perry (R-PA) for their hard work on these bills—and Rep. Fleischmann (R-TN) for his leadership on countering the terrorist threat.”

The other five bills include the Southwest Border Security Threat Assessment Act of 2016, which requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to prepare a southwest border threat analysis; the State and High-Risk Urban Area Working Group Act, which clarifies membership of state planning committees or urban area working groups for the Homeland Security Grant Program; the Treating Small Airports with Fairness Act of 2016, which requires the Transportation Security Administration to conduct security screenings at certain airports; the Department of Homeland Security Strategy for International Programs Act, which requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop a comprehensive strategy for Department of Homeland Security operations abroad; and the DHS Stop Asset and Vehicle Excess Act, which directs the Under Secretary for Management of the Department of Homeland Security to make certain improvement in managing the department’s vehicle fleet.