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During the 108th Congress, I was asked to serve on the newly-created Select Committee on Homeland Security.  On January 4, 2005, the House of Representatives voted to make the committee a permanent standing Committee on Homeland Security and I was elected to serve on this important committee.  I shared the views of the Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, who stated that the, “Homeland Security Committee will focus on the greatest challenges facing the Department of Homeland Security – to help 22 legacy agencies tear down their bureaucratic barriers, and to meet the leading national security challenge of the 21st century.”


Early in the 109th Congress, I was asked to Chair the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Prevention of Nuclear and Biological Attack.  As Chairman of this Subcommittee, I charted an active subcommittee schedule and led Congressional efforts to make sure that DHS was focusing on its mission to prevent terrorist attacks on the United States involving nuclear and biological weapons.  This Subcommittee also oversaw the role of the Department of Homeland Security in nuclear and biological counter-proliferation and detection of fissile materials, biological weapons, precursors, and production equipment.  The goal of the Subcommittee was to seek to integrate Federal, state, and local efforts in order to prevent nuclear and bioterrorism attacks.


Nothing we do in Congress is more important than ensuring the security and safety of the American people from the terrorist threat to America.  I look forward to working to make certain that DHS operates effectively and meets the national security challenges our homeland will continue to face in the 21st century.  I will also work to ensure that all Americans elevate our level of preparedness and are ready to respond should another attack occur.


Making the Committee permanent follows the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that both the House and the Senate should create “a single, principle point of oversight and review for homeland security” across the Federal government.  The Homeland Security Committee has primary jurisdiction over the counterterrorism mission of the DHS, and government-wide homeland security policy generally, and will have the most significant responsibility for homeland security policy of any committee in the House or Senate.  The permanent establishment of this Committee marks the most significant reorganization of national security jurisdiction since 1947.