The first responsibility of our government is the security of every American. In this era of unprecedented and unpredictable challenge, we must be prepared for any threat.
On June 18, the House passed seven critical homeland security bills, from aviation security to detection and prevention of nuclear bombs and IEDs. The bills include:
- The Fair, Accurate, Secure and Timely Redress Act of 2008 (FAST Redress Act of 2008) - H.R. 4179
This bill establishes a timely and fair redress process for individuals who have been misidentified against terrorist watch lists and improves information sharing within DHS.
- The Biometric Enhancement for Airport-Risk Reduction Act of 2008 (BEAR Act of 2008) - H.R. 5982
This bill requires TSA to conduct a study on how airports can adopt biometric identification systems for airport workers.
- The Catching Operational Vulnerabilities by Ensuring Random Testing Act of 2008 (COVERT Act of 2008) - H.R. 5909
This bill prohibits the advance notice of covert testing to airport security screeners and ensures testing integrity.
This resolution expresses that TSA should enhance security to our Nation's rail and mass transit lines.
- National Bombing Prevention Act of 2008 - H.R. 4749
This bill establishes an office for enhancing Federal coordination of efforts to deter, detect, prevent, protect against, and respond to terrorist explosive attacks.
- The Civil Air Patrol Homeland Security Support Act of 2007 - H.R. 1333
This bill requires the Government Accountability Office to assess the capabilities of the Civil Air Patrol to partner with the Department of Homeland Security.
- The Nuclear Forensics and Attribution Act - H.R. 2631
This bill would support international and domestic efforts to create a nuclear forensics capability to determine the sources of nuclear and “dirty” bombs.
Implementing the Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission
To protect the American people and our homeland, one of the first actions of the new Democratic-led Congress was to implement the recommendations of the independent bipartisan 9/11 Commission by passing H.R. 1. On August 1, 2007, Congress sent the final bill to the President, which he signed into law on August 3.
The Gavel: Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act Sent to President>>
Learn more about the Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act>>
On September 9, 2008, the Committees on Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs released a report, "Wasted Lessons of 9/11: How the Bush Administration Has Ignored the Law and Squandered Its Opportunities to Make Our Country Safer (.pdf)." Since President Bush signed the 9/11 Commission Recommendations into law in 2007, the Majority staffs of the Committees on Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs have conducted extensive oversight to answer the question, How is the Bush Administration doing on fulfilling the requirements of the “Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007”? This report and the following table summarize their findings, focusing on the Administration's performance in several key security areas.
Read the report (.pdf)>>
Homeland Security Appropriations
To keep America safe, the Democratic-led Congress’ Homeland Security Appropriations bill addresses our nation’s most pressing security needs. Along with H.R. 1, this legislation works to implement many of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and fulfilling the commitments made by the House in the 9/11 bill passed in January of 2007. It also places new emphasis on protecting our ports and our rail and transit systems. It provides support to our states and local communities for preventing and responding to terrorist threats and natural disasters. Aviation security is strengthened with improvements to baggage screenings and a requirement that TSA double the amount of cargo screened for explosives on passenger aircraft. Critical investments are made into border and immigration security, providing for record numbers of border patrol agents and detention beds.
Ensuring Workplace Rights for First Responders
In the post-9/11 era of protecting America from terrorism, we are asking our police officers, firefighters, and other public safety officers to take on even more responsibilities than they had before. We must ensure that they have basic rights to seek better wages and benefits. In July, 2007, the House passed the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, which would provide firefighters and police officers with basic workplace collective bargaining rights.
Speaker Pelosi and other House Democrats joined several dozen police officers, firefighters and other public safety officers at a rally at the Capitol to celebrate passage of the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act. Watch>>