House Passes Three Donovan Homeland Security Bills
Washington, DC—January 31, 2017….Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed three homeland security bills sponsored by Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11). The Securing Cities Act of 2017, Transit Security Grant Program Flexibility Act and the Cyber Preparedness Act, which all passed with broad bipartisan support, bulk up the country’s defenses against nuclear, transit, and cybersecurity threats. With today’s action, Donovan has passed the most bills through the House of any member of the 115th Congress.
Congressman Donovan said, “Your government’s greatest responsibility is to protect the American people. We have to be constantly vigilant and ensure that law enforcement officials have the resources necessary to prepare for and respond to terror threats. My bills will bolster nuclear, cyber, and transit defenses, and ultimately make the homeland safer.”
Chairman McCaul said, “I commend the leadership of Congressman Donovan on his legislation to bolster the security of our homeland. These 17 House passed Homeland Security Committee bills are all common sense solutions to improve our border security, counterterrorism posture, transportation security, and cyber defenses, as well as enhancing first responder capabilities, and streamlining the management efficiency of the Department of Homeland Security. The sooner these critical bills pass the Senate and become law, the safer the American homeland and our people will be.”
Below is a summary of the Donovan bills passed today:
- H.R. 655 – Securing the Cities Act of 2017: This bill makes permanent the Securing the Cities program, which defends cities against radiological and nuclear attacks. The program provides cities - including New York - with training and equipment to detect radiological material. Dirty bombs have long been a concern for law enforcement, and Securing the Cities is integral to preventing an attack.
- H.R. 549 – Transit Security Grant Program Flexibility Act: This legislation improves the ability of transit agencies to prevent and respond to terror attacks by improving Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP) rules. The recent shootings at a Fort Lauderdale airport, along with a bombing attempt at a New Jersey train station, highlight that transportation systems remain top targets for attacks. The bill would permit TSGP recipients to use grant funds for additional security training costs, allowing more transit agency employees to participate in security drills and exercises. Additionally, the bill extends the timeframe in which grant recipients must spend their funds from two years to three. This change, based on direct feedback from transit security officials during a subcommittee hearing I chaired in 2016, will allow transit agencies to use their grant funds in the most effective way possible without having to worry about unrealistic deadlines.
- H.R. 584 – Cyber Preparedness Act of 2017: This bill streamlines the country’s cybersecurity procedures to improve cyber-threat information sharing and coordination between federal, state, and local authorities. The legislation enhances preparedness and response capabilities for cyberattacks by allowing representatives from state and urban fusion centers to operate jointly out of the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), enabling improved information sharing. The bill also clarifies that homeland security grants can be used to fund state and local cybersecurity initiatives.
These bills – which included insight from subcommittee hearings Donovan chaired to explore ways to defend transit and cyber infrastructure against terror attacks – were originally introduced and passed in the House during the 114th Congress. The bills will now go to the Senate for consideration.
Donovan chairs the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, which has jurisdiction over anti-terror policies. Today’s action highlights Donovan’s continued focus on bolstering anti-terror defenses. Last year, Donovan helped lead the fight to reverse proposed cuts to the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), which provides hundreds of millions of dollars in anti-terror funding, including $180 million to New York City, to high-risk jurisdictions.