Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, lauded passage of critical homeland security measures included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023, which passed the House of Representatives today and will be sent to the President’s desk for his approval after Senate passage. Measures included in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act include a bill authored by Chairman Thompson to protect non-profits and houses of worship against terrorism, measures to bolster DHS’s purchasing of U.S. manufactured goods and address fentanyl trafficking into the U.S., and cybersecurity, border security, and transportation security legislation.
“I am pleased that we are closing out the Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support for measures to make our communities more secure and improve Department of Homeland Security operations.
“I am particularly pleased that we were able to reach agreement on the Nonprofit Security Grant Program Improvement Act to expand and strengthen this vital program so that more nonprofits and houses of worship can access security assistance at this time of heightened threats of violent extremism and terrorism. With antisemitic and other violent threats on the rise, it is clear this legislation is needed now more than ever.
“I also want to thank Ranking Member Katko, as he retires from Congress, for his contributions to the Committee and his critical support for the Committee’s bipartisan package throughout this process. While the package reflects the contributions of so many of my colleagues, I would like to give special acknowledgment to Congresswoman Demings who championed the Homeland Security Capabilities Preservation Act, legislation directing DHS to explore ways to provide needed bridge funding to cities to preserve homeland security capability gains accomplished through the Urban Area Security Initiative grant program when they no longer receive such funding.
“With respect to cybersecurity, I am pleased that we were able to reach agreement on bipartisan provisions that originated in the Committee on Homeland Security. They include Congresswoman Slotkin’s legislation to reauthorize the Secret Service’s National Computer Forensics Institute, Congresswoman Luria’s bill to authorize DHS’s President’s Cup Cybersecurity Competition, and legislation authored by Congressman Swalwell aimed at improving DHS’ cybersecurity training for to protect industrial control systems.
“While I am enormously proud of the bipartisan homeland security provisions that were included, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge my disappointment that we were not able to reach agreement with the Senate on amending the law to treat TSA’s workforce like most other Federal employees or authorize the vital work of DHS’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. We will continue to seek an agreement on these critical measures.
“Lastly, I am particularly proud that the NDAA honors my late friend, Congressman McEachin, by including his bill, the DHS Mentor-Protégé Program Act, to help small businesses better compete for DHS contracts. It is a fitting tribute to my friend that we came together to pass a bill to open doors of opportunity to small businesses—something that he was passionate about doing.”