DHS Reauthorization Moving In Both Legislative Chambers

On October 13 the US House Committee on Homeland Security adopted its version of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (HR 3116) by a vote of 19 to 13.  The legislation codifies in statute key functions and missions of DHS and provides the necessary tools, guidance, and direction to fulfill its responsibilities.

Among its many provisions, the bill authorizes the Securing the Cities Program to help prevent a nuclear or radiological attack in high-risk metropolitan areas, and reauthorizes first responder grant programs. The bill also directs DHS to provide assurances that it is expeditiously working to develop and implement measures and metrics for the evaluation of grant expenditures. To review the legislation click on: http://homeland.house.gov/sites/homeland.house.gov/files/DHS_Auth.pdf

The measure now goes to the floor of the House of Representatives.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee passed their DHS authorization bill (S. 1546) on Sept. 21, 2011 by an overwhelming 9-1 vote.
During Committee deliberations lawmakers agreed that the Department of Homeland Security is operating at a higher level but it continued to be challenged by management issues.  The authorization legislation places continuing DHS programs into statute, eliminates some programs, and makes changes to find cost savings that will also assist the Department in meeting its core missions more efficiently.  The legislation requires DHS to find efficiencies in its field operations to cut overhead costs by five percent.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) authored an amendment to the DHS reauthorization legislation entitled, Safeguarding American Agriculture Act. Provisions of the amendment will:

  • establish the Office of Agriculture Inspection
  • create the position of Assistant Commissioner for Agriculture Inspection
  • establish criteria by which appropriately qualified customs and border protection technicians may be promoted to customs and border protection agriculture specialists.
  • provide customs and border protection agriculture specialists the opportunity to acquire education, training, and experience necessary to qualify for promotion within CBP.
  • develop a plan to more effectively recruit and retain qualified customs and border protection agriculture specialists.
  • provide minimum equipment and other resources necessary at CBP agriculture inspection stations and facilities
  • establish an interagency rotation program providing personnel of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the Department of Agriculture to take rotational assignments within the Office of Agriculture Inspection and vice versa for the purposes of strengthening working relationships between agencies and promoting interagency experience.

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If you are seeking clearances for migrant laborers, or if your organization is seeking grants from the Department of Homeland Security contact Cansler Consulting.

Cansler Consulting is an experienced lobbying firm in budgeting, agriculture, rural healthcare, and energy policies and through our Congressional relationships we can help you influence the policy makers on Capitol Hill. You can contact us at info@canslerconsulting.com or at (202) 220-3150.

Tim Cansler
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