It’s been over 1,100 days since the last Department of Homeland Security authorization bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. And as we approach the end of the 116th Congress, the chances grow thin of the majority introducing legislation to provide the Department of Homeland Security with the resources and authorities it needs to stop the growing threats to our homeland.
I wish I could say I’m surprised Democrats have yet to offer a reauthorization package. However, this is the party that started out this Congress with calls to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This is the party that last year called the unprecedented migrant surge at the Southwest border a “Fake Emergency,” and took half a year to vote on critical humanitarian funding to address the crisis. This is the party that turned a blind eye as violent mobs took over cities across our country. It’s reached the point that now some on the Left are calling for the abolition of DHS and the defunding of our police.
It’s clear Democrats have caved to the radical left wing of their party. Unfortunately, this has left them incapable of building the consensus necessary to pass critically needed legislation to close the security gaps that leave our homeland vulnerable to attack.
But Republicans won’t let these gaps widen. My Republican colleagues and I are taking the lead to introduce a two-year, comprehensive reauthorization of the department.
The Keep America Secure Act will provide DHS the resources and authorities it needs to stay ahead of evolving threats and position DHS to be successful on new battlegrounds. The Keep America Secure Act:
- Protects the health of critical frontline employees and ensures DHS can effectively carry out its vital mission during this pandemic.
- Enhances border security by providing critical resources and authorities to increase manpower, improve border barriers, and modernize ports of entry.
- Protects American research and innovation from foreign espionage.
- Improves the nation’s cybersecurity capacity by authorizing new approaches to enhance workforce development and retention at DHS and providing grants and other resources to state and local partners.
- Ensures TSA has access to the funding it needs to carry out its mission, improves existing security programs, and reforms the security screening process to increase checkpoint efficiency and alleviate passenger stress.
- Reauthorizes FEMA for the first time in 14 years and provides increased funding for critical state and local terrorism preparedness grants and other programs.
- Reforms the DHS intelligence enterprise and focuses it on emerging threats and improved information collection, analysis, and dissemination.
- Implements management reforms to improve accountability and oversight of taxpayer dollars.
In contrast to the Democrats’ inability to come together, the Republicans on the committee each played a vital role in the development of the Keep America Secure Act. I applaud my colleagues for their dedication and work on this legislation.
Throughout the last year, the men and women of DHS have worked around the clock not only to manage a pandemic but also to curb bad actors trying to take advantage of it. We owe it to them to pass this legislation. For Republicans, the security of our homeland has always been, and will always remain, our most profound commitment.
Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama is the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee and a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee.