Friday, January 18, 2019

House Accepts Senate Amendment to HR 251 – CFATS Extension

Yesterday the House accepted the Senate amendment to HR 251, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program (CFATS) Extension Act. The amendments received bipartisan support and the House agreed to the Senate amendments by voice vote.

While all of the speakers on the floor during the short debate on the bill supported the Senate amendment, it is clear that their support was for extending the CFATS program rather than being specifically in favor of the shortened extension period found in the Senate revision.

Rep. Thompson (D,MS), the original author of the bill and Chair of the Homeland Security Committee said:

“I am concerned this abbreviated authorization period provides less stability for DHS and more uncertainty for the regulated community, but unless we act, the CFATS program will expire at midnight tonight.”

Rep. Shimkus (R,IL), a cosponsor of the bill and Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, before urging members to support the amendments to HR 251, said:

"What troubles me, though, about the other body’s amendment is it doesn’t give CFATS much room to make more improvement. One of the major lessons to come out of the hearings we had in my committee on the CFATS program was that, from 2009 to 2014, 1-year authority extensions did not offer program stability and stagnated the program’s improvement.”

The bill now goes to the President for signature. There has been no indication that the President Trump would not sign the bill.

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