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November 27, 2012

Two Democratic Homeland Security Bills Pass House; One Sent to President

(WASHINGTON) – Today, the House of Representatives passed five bills originating from the Committee on Homeland Security. Two of these were authored by Democratic members – with one having already passed the Senate and will next go to the President's desk for signage. This bill is the "Jaime Zapata Border Enforcement Security Task Force Act" (H.R. 915), authored by Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX). It passed under a recorded vote of 397-4 and will authorize the "BEST" border security program, in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) partners with Federal, State, local and foreign law enforcement entities to identify, disrupt, and dismantle criminal organizations which pose a threat to border security. The program also serves as a model for interagency cooperation, coordination, and information sharing.

The other Democratic bill is the "Clothe a Homeless Hero Act" (H.R. 6328), authored by Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-NY). This bill requires the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to make every reasonable effort to transfer unclaimed clothing recovered at airport security checkpoints to needy veterans and their families.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement following passage of the legislation:

"Passage of these measures represents a strong step forward towards securing our nation. Because of what the House passed today, on a bipartisan basis, our borders will be more secure and our veterans will be better cared for." "I want to congratulate Rep. Cuellar on the final passage of his bill in memory of Special Agent Jaime Zapata, who lost his life helping secure the Nation's borders. His bill will help secure our Nation's borders and help dismantle criminal organizations by creating cross-agency teams to combat them. H.R. 915 received strong bipartisan support in both the Senate and House earlier this year."

"Since joining the Committee, Rep. Hochul has worked tirelessly to identify bipartisan solutions to our Nation's problems, and thanks to her thoughtful leadership, the House took a small, but important, step in support of our veterans in passing H.R. 6328. We owe it to our veterans to do all that we can to ensure they get the helping hand needed to get back on their feet when they return from the battlefield."

The other bills which passed the House are:

  • H.R. 6025: the Mandatory Operational Control Reporting and Performance Measures Act
  • H.R. 5913: the DHS Accountability Act
  • H.R. 5997: the Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act

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Media Contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978