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November 13, 2020

Former DHS Secretaries and Homeland Security Chairs Agree: It’s Time to Consolidate Congressional Homeland Security Jurisdiction

(WASHINGTON) – House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) was joined by two former Chairmen of the Committee, Reps. Peter T. King (R-NY) and Michael T. McCaul (R-TX), in sending a bipartisan letter to House leadership to urge them to support the expansion of the Committee’s black letter jurisdiction to ensure it has the jurisdiction necessary to fully authorize the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The 9/11 Commission’s recommendation to create a “single, principal point of oversight and review for homeland security” has yet to be realized almost 20 years after the 9/11 attacks.

“From port, border, transportation, and cyber security to countering the rise of domestic terrorism to responding to disasters, DHS is tasked with a broad and challenging range of mission,” the current and former Chairs wrote. “Sixteen years ago, the 9/11 Commission expressed concern that the way Congress was organized would hinder DHS’ development and bog down critical reform legislation in a web of referrals. Over the past sixteen years, we have had some successes but the promise of a standing House committee over DHS has not been fully realized.”

This week, six former Secretaries and Acting Secretaries of Homeland Security – Tom Ridge, Michael Chertoff, Janet Napolitano, Jeh Johnson, Rand Beers, and Kevin McAleenan – also sent a letter to Congressional leadership to urge the same changes. In their letter, they expressed “the need to consolidate and strengthen Congressional oversight of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in order to make possible the fundamental changes that DHS urgently needs to protect the American people from the threats we face in 2021.” 

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Press Contact

(Thompson) Adam Comis at 202-225-9978