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NDAA Passes House with Provisions on TSA Workforce, Disaster Response Equity, Protecting Houses of Worship from Terrorism

Legislation aims to address systemic inequities in the federal government’s response to disasters and how it distributes assistance through data.

Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, lauded passage of dozens of homeland security measures in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (H.R. 7900), which passed the House of Representatives today. They include measures to improve pay and working conditions for TSA’s frontline workforce, address systemic inequities in Federal disaster assistance programs, and protect non-profits and houses of worship against terrorism.

“I am pleased by the overwhelming bipartisan support in the House for measures to improve the operations of the Department of Homeland Security and enhance homeland security support to communities at risk. I am glad the House approved the Committee’s bipartisan amendment that I introduced with Ranking Member Katko which includes the Nonprofit Security Grant Program Improvement Act to expand and strengthen the homeland security grant program that help secure nonprofits and houses of worship against increased terrorism threats.

“I am also pleased that the House approved an amendment containing the Rights for TSA Workforce Act. Under TSA’s current personnel system, the agency suffers from high attrition and low morale. Getting the TSA workforce under the personnel system under which most other Federal employees operate has been a priority for many of us for decades. The unprecedented support by the Biden Administration has significantly improved prospects for getting this done and the Senate must now consider it.

“Lastly, I am delighted that the House approved an amendment that contains the FEMA Equity Act, to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency in its efforts at instilling equity as a foundation of emergency management.  Study after study have found that low-income communities, rural areas, racial minorities, tribes, individuals with disabilities, seniors, and children are all more likely to experience the most devastating impacts of disasters.  Yet, many in these communities and groups face an uphill battle to navigate the complicated Federal assistance processes.  With hurricane season underway and wildfires wreaking havoc on communities big and small, passage of my amendment is so very timely. I want to thank Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio for working with us on getting this measure included today.”

Measures included in NDAA, as approved by the House:

  • The Rights for the TSA Workforce Act of 2022 (H.R. 903). Chairman Thompson’s bipartisan legislation to provide all 60,000 TSA employees – including frontline Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) – the same worker rights and protections afforded to other Federal workers under title 5 of the U.S. Code. This includes full Federal employee collective bargaining rights, access to an independent third party for dispute resolution, and improved compensation under the General Schedule wage system. More information on this legislation, which previously passed the House, can be found here.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Advancement of Equity Act (or FEMA Equity Act) (H.R. 7668). Chairman Thompson’s legislation to address systemic inequities in the Federal government’s response to disasters and how it distributes assistance by, amongst other things, improving FEMA’s data collection systems to better identify inequities within its programs while directing it to ensure equity is integrated into these programs. More information on this legislation, which has also been introduced in the Senate, can be found here.

Other Noteworthy Homeland Security Measures:

  1. H.R. 4349, the Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Authorization Act, sponsored by Rep. Al Green (D-TX)
  2. H.R. 6825, the Nonprofit Security Grant Program Improvement Act of 2022, sponsored by Chairman Thompson (D-MS)
  3. H.R. 5633, the DHS Inspector General Transparency Act, sponsored by Chairman Thompson (D-MS)
  4. H.R. 7174, the National Computer Forensics Institute Reauthorization Act of 2022, sponsored by Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI)
  5. H.R. 5615, the Homeland Security Capabilities Preservation Act, sponsored by Rep. Val Demings (D-FL)
  6. H.R. 6387, the School and Daycare Protection Act, sponsored by Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ)
  7. H.R. 2915, the HOPR Act, sponsored by Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA)
  8. H.R. 4611, the DHS Software Supply Chain Risk Management Act of 2021, sponsored by Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY)
  9. H.R. 370, the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Technical Corrections Act of 2021, sponsored by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ)
  10. H.R. 6873, the Bombing Prevention Act, sponsored by Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ)
  11. H.R. 5616, the DHS Basic Training Accreditation Improvement Act of 2021, sponsored by Rep. Val Demings (D-FL)
  12. H.R. 6824, the President’s Cup Cybersecurity Competition Act, sponsored by Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA)
  13. H.R. 7777, the ICS Cybersecurity Training Act, sponsored by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
  14. H.R. 5574, the TRANSLATE Act, sponsored by Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV)
  15. H.R. 4089, the Darren Drake Act, sponsored by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ)
  16. H.R. 4349, the Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Authorization Act, sponsored by Rep. Al Green (D-TX)
  17. H.R. 408, the DHS Mentor Protégé Program Act, sponsored by Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA)
  18. H.R. 1540, the REPORT Act, sponsored by Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA)
  19. H.R. 4094, the One-Stop Pilot Program Act, sponsored by Rep. John Katko (R-NY)
  20. H.R. 4209, the DHS Illicit Cross-Border Tunnel Defense Act, sponsored by Rep. August Pfluger (R-TX)
  21. H.R. 5274, the PREVENT Act of 2021, sponsored by Rep. David Joyce (R-OH)
  22. H.R. 4476, the DHS Trade and Economic Security Council Act of 2021, sponsored by Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI)
  23. H.R. 4682, the UAS Act, sponsored by Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS)
  24. H.R. 6871, the DHS Acquisition Reform, sponsored by Rep. Jake LaTurner (R-KS)
  25. H.R. 6868, the Cybersecurity Grants for Schools Act of 2022, sponsored by Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY)
  26. H.R. 5652, the DHS Acquisition Review Board Act of 2021, sponsored by Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (R-NJ)
  27. H.R. 4363, the DHS Contract Reporting Act of 2021, sponsored by Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN)

Read more at the House Homeland Security Committee

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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