JUST IN: House passes landmark bipartisan measure on Homeland Security Department

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By an overwhelming majority, the House of Representatives passed a measure Thursday to reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

In addition to updates to counterterrorism, emergency preparedness, and maritime security programs in the DHS, the bill also includes updates to the TSA, Secret Service, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, ICE, Coast Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Only nine Republicans and 32 Democrats opposed the legislation, which passed by a 386-41 vote. It is now headed to the Senate, where, if approved, will make it the first-ever re-authorization for the DHS since it was originally created after the 9/11 terror attacks.

According to The Hill, some of the changes include:

  • Requires Secret Service Director to be confirmed by Senate
  • Requires approval of Congress for appointment of DHS assistant secretaries
  • Requires increase in number of annual training hours for the Secret Service
  • Requires TSA reduce the number of senior executives by 20 percent
  • Authorizes $800 million annually through 2022 for Urban Area Security Initiative, intended to prevent and respond to acts of terrorism.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) stated, “To stay ahead of America’s threats, we need a national security apparatus that can best adapt to new challenges as they arise. The threats we face have evolved in the past 15 years, and we must not only keep up with the evolution of the threats, we need to stay in front of them.”

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