House Committees Pledge Cooperation on DHS Reauthorization Legislation

January 12, 2017–The chairs of eight House committees with jurisdiction over the Department of Homeland Security have signed a memorandum stating that they will cooperate on legislation to reauthorize DHS.

The agreement among the committee chairs was announced today by Rep. Michael McCaul (R., Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. Rep. McCaul said last week (TRDaily, Jan. 5) that he had reached a memorandum of understanding with other committee chairs to help speed reauthorization legislation, and that he was “very optimistic that we will see that legislation . . . one of the first coming out of my committee.”

Central to Rep. McCaul’s push for DHS reauthorization is his oft-stated goal of transforming the agency’s National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) into an operational unit devoted to the protection of critical infrastructure, to be called the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Agency within DHS. DHS Secretary has Jeh Johnson has voiced support for such a move.

According to the text of the memorandum made public today, the committee chairs have agreed to a set of principles including authorizing DHS “on a regular basis,” prioritizing reauthorization efforts, coordinating with the Homeland Security on reauthorization efforts, jointly developing a process for vetting and pre-clearing base text and amendments to legislation, expediting consideration of any comprehensive authorization bill, and refraining from including in legislation provisions that would impact revenue.

“To the extent that there are policy differences between the committees regarding a provision of the comprehensive authorization bill for the Department, the committees will make best efforts to resolve any such dispute,” the memorandum says.

The document was signed by Rep. McCaul; Rep. Greg Walden (R., Ore.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee; Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R., Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee; Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas), chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee; Rep. Bill Shuster (R., Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; and Rep. Kevin Brady (R., Texas), chairman the House Ways and Means Committee.

“We are finally on a solid path to overhaul the Department of Homeland Security and make sure it stays ahead of threats to our country,” said Rep. McCaul in a statement today.

“I am pleased that the committee chairmen with jurisdiction over DHS have come together—for the first time—and formally agreed on a path forward to comprehensively reauthorize the Department in the 115th Congress and beyond,” he said. “This agreement is just what Americans need to see happening in Washington to have more confidence in our nation’s security. I look forward to working hand-in-hand with my colleagues in the House, the Senate, and the new Administration to reauthorize DHS

look forward to working hand-in-hand with my colleagues in the House, the Senate, and the new Administration to reauthorize DHS and ensure it is equipped to protect the United States and our people more effectively, efficiently, and decisively.” – John Curran, john.curran@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily