Tuesday, November 29, 2016

HR 6381 Introduced – Homeland Security Improvements

Earlier in the lame duck session Rep. McCaul (R,TX) introduced HR 6381, the ‘DHS Reform and Improvement Act. This is essentially a DHS authorization bill, except that it only specifically authorizes funds for some of the programs described in the bill, not for the Department as a whole. The bill has been cobbled together from a wide variety of previously introduced (and in some cases amended) bills.

The bill is as wide ranging as is the coverage of DHS. Sections within this bill that may be of specific interest to readers of this blog include:

Sec. 101. Drone assessment and analysis;
Sec. 212. Transportation Worker Identification Credential waiver and appeals process;
Sec. 533. Medical Countermeasures Program;
Sec. 601. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Agency;
Sec. 701. Improving cybersecurity risk assessments, information sharing, and Coordination;
Sec. 702. Cybersecurity enhancements to maritime security activities;
Sec. 703. Vulnerability assessments and security plans;
Sec. 801. Authorization of the National Computer Forensics Institute of the Department of Homeland Security;
Sec. 901. CBRNE Office;
Sec. 902. Chemical Division;
Sec. 1901. [Cybersecurity] Information sharing;
Sec. 1902. Homeland security [cybersecurity] grants;
Sec. 2101. Cybersecurity research and development projects;
Sec. 3001. State and local coordination on cybersecurity with the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center;
Sec. 3231. Surface Transportation Inspectors; and
Sec. 3234. Security training for frontline transportation workers;

I am not going to attempt to describe the provisions of all of the above sections; I’ve dealt with each of them in discussing their source legislation. Suffice to say there is nothing new here and I have not been able to find any significant changes in any of the provisions.

It looks like McCaul is making one last attempt to get Congress to address all of these homeland security issues. Addressing the individual bills piecemeal in the lame duck session is simply not possible, even under suspension of the rules. There is a remote chance that this bill could be considered, but first McCaul has to convince nine other Committee Chairs to sign-off on the bill before it comes to the floor.

I suspect that the bill could pass with some bipartisan support. The question is whether or not there is enough bipartisan support to allow the bill to be considered under suspension of the rules. If not, the bill is unlikely to be considered in the House and would never be considered in the Senate before the end of the session.

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