4:59 PM EST

Patrick L. Meehan, R-PA 7th

Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise today in support of H.R. 5629, the Strengthening Domestic Nuclear Security Act of 2014.

We know extremist groups such as al Qaeda and ISIS have shown interest in acquiring nuclear and radiological materials, and in July of this year, Islamist insurgents seized nuclear materials which were used for scientific research at Mosul University in Iraq. Fortunately, the material that was seized was not enriched to the point it could be used in weapons form, but it proves that our enemies are actively seeking materials that could be turned into a dirty bomb.

The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office is the lead agency within the United States Government for coordinating efforts to detect and intercept radiological and nuclear devices that threaten to come into the United States. DNDO coordinates these efforts through an interagency system and a collaborative framework known as the global nuclear detection architecture, which DNDO is responsible for implementing domestically.

DNDO works with other Department of Homeland Security components, including Customs and Border Protection, as well as State and local law enforcement to provide these entities with the equipment and training which is needed to interdict radiological or nuclear material before it can enter into the United States.

DNDO has had its share of struggles in the past, but over the past several years it has made significant improvements from top to bottom and today is one of the best functioning components in the Department of Homeland Security. We have done the oversight. According to an internal review that was done by the Department, this actual division has the highest morale of any department in Homeland Security. They are to be commended for their good work.

This legislation looks to build on the momentum that has been created by making modest improvements to better help DNDO carry out its mission. Specifically, H.R. 5629 strengthens DNDO's engagement with other DHS components and stakeholders and codifies acquisition procedures and guidelines to prevent the breakdowns that have occurred in the past.

Through my subcommittee's oversight, the gentlewoman from New York and I have had the ability to determine that performing the joint interagency review of the global nuclear detection architecture annually was not necessary, so H.R. 5629 also changes the review to require it every 2 years instead. DNDO has advised us that by making that small change, DHS could save up to $800,000. I think it is important to be fiscal stewards of the dollars that are under our oversight. This accomplishes that.

This legislation also codifies and strengthens the Securing the Cities [Page: H8193]

program, a program to enhance the ability to detect and prevent radiological or nuclear attacks in high-risk U.S. cities. This program has been very successful in building up the resources of New York City and is being expanded to the national capital region and Los Angeles and Long Beach.

I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation to build on the capacity of the Department of Homeland Security to protect the homeland against such an attack.

Mr. Speaker, with that, I reserve the balance of my time.

5:00 PM EST

Patrick L. Meehan, R-PA 7th

Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise today in support of H.R. 5629, the Strengthening Domestic Nuclear Security Act of 2014.

We know extremist groups such as al Qaeda and ISIS have shown interest in acquiring nuclear and radiological materials, and in July of this year, Islamist insurgents seized nuclear materials which were used for scientific research at Mosul University in Iraq. Fortunately, the material that was seized was not enriched to the point it could be used in weapons form, but it proves that our enemies are actively seeking materials that could be turned into a dirty bomb.

The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office is the lead agency within the United States Government for coordinating efforts to detect and intercept radiological and nuclear devices that threaten to come into the United States. DNDO coordinates these efforts through an interagency system and a collaborative framework known as the global nuclear detection architecture, which DNDO is responsible for implementing domestically.

DNDO works with other Department of Homeland Security components, including Customs and Border Protection, as well as State and local law enforcement to provide these entities with the equipment and training which is needed to interdict radiological or nuclear material before it can enter into the United States.

DNDO has had its share of struggles in the past, but over the past several years it has made significant improvements from top to bottom and today is one of the best functioning components in the Department of Homeland Security. We have done the oversight. According to an internal review that was done by the Department, this actual division has the highest morale of any department in Homeland Security. They are to be commended for their good work.

This legislation looks to build on the momentum that has been created by making modest improvements to better help DNDO carry out its mission. Specifically, H.R. 5629 strengthens DNDO's engagement with other DHS components and stakeholders and codifies acquisition procedures and guidelines to prevent the breakdowns that have occurred in the past.

Through my subcommittee's oversight, the gentlewoman from New York and I have had the ability to determine that performing the joint interagency review of the global nuclear detection architecture annually was not necessary, so H.R. 5629 also changes the review to require it every 2 years instead. DNDO has advised us that by making that small change, DHS could save up to $800,000. I think it is important to be fiscal stewards of the dollars that are under our oversight. This accomplishes that.

This legislation also codifies and strengthens the Securing the Cities [Page: H8193]

program, a program to enhance the ability to detect and prevent radiological or nuclear attacks in high-risk U.S. cities. This program has been very successful in building up the resources of New York City and is being expanded to the national capital region and Los Angeles and Long Beach.

I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation to build on the capacity of the Department of Homeland Security to protect the homeland against such an attack.

Mr. Speaker, with that, I reserve the balance of my time.

5:09 PM EST

Patrick L. Meehan, R-PA 7th

Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Speaker, after my remarks, I will insert into the Record an exchange of letters between the Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I want to also take a moment to thank the ranking member for her engagement and collaboration on the many issues that we had the opportunity to work on together, to share this collaboration and engagement of important matters before our Committee on Homeland Security, particularly work that we were able to do, as you have identified, on cybersecurity and, I think, also on chemical facilities and the protection which is so important to our homeland in that area as well. I have genuinely enjoyed

the collaboration and look forward to hoping that we not only pass the bills that we have before this Congress, but that we can continue to work together into the future.

I urge all Members to join me in supporting this bipartisan bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.

House of Representatives, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology,

Washington, DC, December 1, 2014.

Hon. MICHAEL MCCAUL,

Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security, Washington, DC.

DEAR CHAIRMAN MCCAUL: I am writing to you concerning the jurisdictional interest of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in H.R. 5629, the ``Strengthening Domestic Nuclear Security Act.'' The bill contains provisions that fall within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

I recognize and appreciate the desire to bring this legislation before the House of Representatives in an expeditious manner, and accordingly, I will waive further consideration of this bill in Committee, notwithstanding any provisions that fall within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. This waiver, of course, is conditional on our mutual understanding that agreeing to waive consideration of this bill should not be construed as waiving, reducing, or affecting

the jurisdiction of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

This waiver is also given with the understanding that the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology expressly reserves its authority to seek conferees on any provision within its jurisdiction during any House-Senate conference that may be convened on this, or any similar legislation. I ask for your commitment to support any request by the Committee for conferees on H.R. 5629 as well as any similar or related legislation.

I ask that a copy of this letter and your response be placed in the Congressional Record during consideration of this bill on the House floor.

Sincerely,

Lamar Smith,

Chairman.

--

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY,

Washington, DC, December 1, 2014.

Hon. LAMAR SMITH,

Chairman, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Washington, DC.

DEAR CHAIRMAN SMITH: Thank you for your letter regarding H.R. 5629, the ``Strengthening Domestic Nuclear Security Act.'' I acknowledge that by forgoing a sequential referral on this legislation, your Committee is not diminishing or altering its jurisdiction.

I also concur with you that forgoing action on this bill does not in any way prejudice the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology with respect to its jurisdictional prerogatives on this bill or similar legislation in the future, and I would support your effort to seek appointment of an appropriate number of conferees to any House-Senate conference involving this legislation.

Finally, I will include your letter and this response in the Congressional Record during consideration of this bill on the House floor. I appreciate your cooperation regarding this legislation, and I look forward to working with the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and the bill moves through the legislative process.

Sincerely,

Michael T. McCaul,

Chairman.