4:16 PM EDT
Patrick L. Meehan, R-PA 7th

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

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of my bill, H.R. 3488. This legislation would require that the Secretary of Homeland Security meet certain conditions and requirements prior to establishing any new U.S. Customs and Border Protection preclearance operations in foreign countries.

The Customs and Border Protection's preclearance operations overseas inspect and examine travelers and their merchandise in foreign locations prior to their arrival in the United States. Once cleared on foreign soil, passengers do not have to clear customs upon arrival in the United States.

Now, Congress has a long history of supporting limited and specific preclearance operations. These serve to facilitate travel, and they improve homeland security. However, earlier this year, Customs and Border Patrol, or CBP, commenced preclearance operations in Abu Dhabi without prior notification to Congress, without concern to American jobs, and without a clear homeland security benefit.

This legislation ensures that the DHS takes into account the impact on American jobs and our global competitiveness as we enhance our security through future preclearance facilities. My bill requires DHS to meet a series of benchmarks to establish a preclearance operation and requires transparency and prompt notification to Congress while the Department negotiates preclearance agreements with foreign governments. This legislation will go a long way towards preventing a repeat of CBP's mismanaged

rollout of the preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi earlier this year.

I have long had serious concerns about the agreement with Abu Dhabi, especially the way it was handled by the Department and, ultimately, the disregard DHS had for the domestic airline industry. To correct that error, this bill requires extensive consultation with key stakeholders so that that never happens again.

Abu Dhabi was the first new preclearance location established since 9/11. Prior to Abu Dhabi, the U.S. had preclearance locations in places like Ireland, the Bahamas, and Canada. We had an obligation to get this right, and CBP did not. Despite the security-focused rationale, this agreement was conducted without suitable congressional notification or a thorough explanation for the rationale of preclearance operations in Abu Dhabi.

We know that a significant number of watch list hits and suspicious travel pattern information originates from the region, but that does not excuse the lack of notification or, more importantly, not taking into account how such agreements affect American workers and their employers.

The establishment of a preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi, where no domestic carrier currently flies--let me repeat that, no domestic carrier currently flies--puts U.S. carriers at a competitive and significant disadvantage, as customs wait times are generally shorter at preclearance facilities compared to wait times in the United States.

This facility provides a clear facilitation benefit to foreign airlines at the expense of U.S. carriers and U.S. jobs, and this is particularly egregious where the foreign-based airline is given subsidies designed to tilt the market unfairly in their direction. By requiring the Secretary to consider the economic impact in establishing preclearance facilities, we protect American jobs and American workers.

I support giving our security professionals the tools needed in their effort to ``push out our borders,'' but we must do so in a way that makes us more secure, does not divert limited CBP staffing resources, or threaten U.S. jobs and a vital economic engine provided by U.S. carriers.

I am pleased that over 150 of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle cosponsored this measure, and I urge all of my colleagues to support this important bill.

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

4:16 PM EDT
Patrick L. Meehan, R-PA 7th

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

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of my bill, H.R. 3488. This legislation would require that the Secretary of Homeland Security meet certain conditions and requirements prior to establishing any new U.S. Customs and Border Protection preclearance operations in foreign countries.

The Customs and Border Protection's preclearance operations overseas inspect and examine travelers and their merchandise in foreign locations prior to their arrival in the United States. Once cleared on foreign soil, passengers do not have to clear customs upon arrival in the United States.

Now, Congress has a long history of supporting limited and specific preclearance operations. These serve to facilitate travel, and they improve homeland security. However, earlier this year, Customs and Border Patrol, or CBP, commenced preclearance operations in Abu Dhabi without prior notification to Congress, without concern to American jobs, and without a clear homeland security benefit.

This legislation ensures that the DHS takes into account the impact on American jobs and our global competitiveness as we enhance our security through future preclearance facilities. My bill requires DHS to meet a series of benchmarks to establish a preclearance operation and requires transparency and prompt notification to Congress while the Department negotiates preclearance agreements with foreign governments. This legislation will go a long way towards preventing a repeat of CBP's mismanaged

rollout of the preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi earlier this year.

I have long had serious concerns about the agreement with Abu Dhabi, especially the way it was handled by the Department and, ultimately, the disregard DHS had for the domestic airline industry. To correct that error, this bill requires extensive consultation with key stakeholders so that that never happens again.

Abu Dhabi was the first new preclearance location established since 9/11. Prior to Abu Dhabi, the U.S. had preclearance locations in places like Ireland, the Bahamas, and Canada. We had an obligation to get this right, and CBP did not. Despite the security-focused rationale, this agreement was conducted without suitable congressional notification or a thorough explanation for the rationale of preclearance operations in Abu Dhabi.

We know that a significant number of watch list hits and suspicious travel pattern information originates from the region, but that does not excuse the lack of notification or, more importantly, not taking into account how such agreements affect American workers and their employers.

The establishment of a preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi, where no domestic carrier currently flies--let me repeat that, no domestic carrier currently flies--puts U.S. carriers at a competitive and significant disadvantage, as customs wait times are generally shorter at preclearance facilities compared to wait times in the United States.

This facility provides a clear facilitation benefit to foreign airlines at the expense of U.S. carriers and U.S. jobs, and this is particularly egregious where the foreign-based airline is given subsidies designed to tilt the market unfairly in their direction. By requiring the Secretary to consider the economic impact in establishing preclearance facilities, we protect American jobs and American workers.

I support giving our security professionals the tools needed in their effort to ``push out our borders,'' but we must do so in a way that makes us more secure, does not divert limited CBP staffing resources, or threaten U.S. jobs and a vital economic engine provided by U.S. carriers.

I am pleased that over 150 of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle cosponsored this measure, and I urge all of my colleagues to support this important bill.

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

4:16 PM EDT
Patrick L. Meehan, R-PA 7th

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

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of my bill, H.R. 3488. This legislation would require that the Secretary of Homeland Security meet certain conditions and requirements prior to establishing any new U.S. Customs and Border Protection preclearance operations in foreign countries.

The Customs and Border Protection's preclearance operations overseas inspect and examine travelers and their merchandise in foreign locations prior to their arrival in the United States. Once cleared on foreign soil, passengers do not have to clear customs upon arrival in the United States.

Now, Congress has a long history of supporting limited and specific preclearance operations. These serve to facilitate travel, and they improve homeland security. However, earlier this year, Customs and Border Patrol, or CBP, commenced preclearance operations in Abu Dhabi without prior notification to Congress, without concern to American jobs, and without a clear homeland security benefit.

This legislation ensures that the DHS takes into account the impact on American jobs and our global competitiveness as we enhance our security through future preclearance facilities. My bill requires DHS to meet a series of benchmarks to establish a preclearance operation and requires transparency and prompt notification to Congress while the Department negotiates preclearance agreements with foreign governments. This legislation will go a long way towards preventing a repeat of CBP's mismanaged

rollout of the preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi earlier this year.

I have long had serious concerns about the agreement with Abu Dhabi, especially the way it was handled by the Department and, ultimately, the disregard DHS had for the domestic airline industry. To correct that error, this bill requires extensive consultation with key stakeholders so that that never happens again.

Abu Dhabi was the first new preclearance location established since 9/11. Prior to Abu Dhabi, the U.S. had preclearance locations in places like Ireland, the Bahamas, and Canada. We had an obligation to get this right, and CBP did not. Despite the security-focused rationale, this agreement was conducted without suitable congressional notification or a thorough explanation for the rationale of preclearance operations in Abu Dhabi.

We know that a significant number of watch list hits and suspicious travel pattern information originates from the region, but that does not excuse the lack of notification or, more importantly, not taking into account how such agreements affect American workers and their employers.

The establishment of a preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi, where no domestic carrier currently flies--let me repeat that, no domestic carrier currently flies--puts U.S. carriers at a competitive and significant disadvantage, as customs wait times are generally shorter at preclearance facilities compared to wait times in the United States.

This facility provides a clear facilitation benefit to foreign airlines at the expense of U.S. carriers and U.S. jobs, and this is particularly egregious where the foreign-based airline is given subsidies designed to tilt the market unfairly in their direction. By requiring the Secretary to consider the economic impact in establishing preclearance facilities, we protect American jobs and American workers.

I support giving our security professionals the tools needed in their effort to ``push out our borders,'' but we must do so in a way that makes us more secure, does not divert limited CBP staffing resources, or threaten U.S. jobs and a vital economic engine provided by U.S. carriers.

I am pleased that over 150 of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle cosponsored this measure, and I urge all of my colleagues to support this important bill.

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

4:24 PM EDT
Candice Miller, R-MI 10th

Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, first of all, I certainly want to thank Mr. Meehan for his diligent work on this issue--for quite a long time, actually. He raised concerns with the Department of Homeland Security preclearance operations very early on, and his leadership has been so important to the success of this bill and where we are today.

You know, really, I think there have been few issues that have kept CBP leadership busier over the last year

[Page: H5844]

than preclearance. The troubled rollout of the preclearance in Abu Dhabi caused an awful lot of consternation in the Congress.

The preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi was the first such operation established since 9/11 based primarily on a security rationale. Therefore, the lack of appropriate congressional coordination and notification troubled many Members on both sides of the aisle.

In fact, preclearance operations were the subject of a limitation amendment to last year's Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill that I cosponsored with Mr. Meehan.

The bill under consideration today is sort of a fusion of Mr. Meehan's original text and then the FY14 Consolidated Appropriations Act, as well as Ms. Jackson Lee's bill on this topic also, and it was very carefully crafted after numerous consultations with the Department of Homeland Security, the airline industry, and, again, Members from both sides of the aisle.

It really sets the contours for future preclearance operations which incorporate a series of notifications and certifications, including a justification that outlines the homeland security benefit and impact to domestic staffing and wait times that any new preclearance operations would have. Moreover, Mr. Speaker, this bill requires Congress to be notified in the event that the Department of Homeland Security modifies or changes an existing agreement.

I certainly want to be clear that the House Homeland Security Committee supports preclearance where it makes sense. Preclearance, of course, has been around as a security screening and trade facilitation tool since the early 1950s actually, and since 9/11, the security value of these operations has only been heightened. However, this bill makes it absolutely clear that the Department of Homeland Security cannot repeat the mistakes of the past.

I would also like to just thank Chairman Camp of the Ways and Means Committee, who helped work with us with the Homeland Security Committee to get this bill to the floor today. Again, I certainly want to thank Mr. Meehan and other Members who have worked hard to make sure that the American airlines are not negatively impacted by future preclearance operations overseas.

4:24 PM EDT
Candice Miller, R-MI 10th

Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, first of all, I certainly want to thank Mr. Meehan for his diligent work on this issue--for quite a long time, actually. He raised concerns with the Department of Homeland Security preclearance operations very early on, and his leadership has been so important to the success of this bill and where we are today.

You know, really, I think there have been few issues that have kept CBP leadership busier over the last year

[Page: H5844]

than preclearance. The troubled rollout of the preclearance in Abu Dhabi caused an awful lot of consternation in the Congress.

The preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi was the first such operation established since 9/11 based primarily on a security rationale. Therefore, the lack of appropriate congressional coordination and notification troubled many Members on both sides of the aisle.

In fact, preclearance operations were the subject of a limitation amendment to last year's Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill that I cosponsored with Mr. Meehan.

The bill under consideration today is sort of a fusion of Mr. Meehan's original text and then the FY14 Consolidated Appropriations Act, as well as Ms. Jackson Lee's bill on this topic also, and it was very carefully crafted after numerous consultations with the Department of Homeland Security, the airline industry, and, again, Members from both sides of the aisle.

It really sets the contours for future preclearance operations which incorporate a series of notifications and certifications, including a justification that outlines the homeland security benefit and impact to domestic staffing and wait times that any new preclearance operations would have. Moreover, Mr. Speaker, this bill requires Congress to be notified in the event that the Department of Homeland Security modifies or changes an existing agreement.

I certainly want to be clear that the House Homeland Security Committee supports preclearance where it makes sense. Preclearance, of course, has been around as a security screening and trade facilitation tool since the early 1950s actually, and since 9/11, the security value of these operations has only been heightened. However, this bill makes it absolutely clear that the Department of Homeland Security cannot repeat the mistakes of the past.

I would also like to just thank Chairman Camp of the Ways and Means Committee, who helped work with us with the Homeland Security Committee to get this bill to the floor today. Again, I certainly want to thank Mr. Meehan and other Members who have worked hard to make sure that the American airlines are not negatively impacted by future preclearance operations overseas.

4:26 PM EDT
Bennie Thompson, D-MS 2nd

Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 3488, the Preclearance Authorization Act of 2014.

Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security decided to alter the focus of Customs and Border Protection's preclearance program from one aimed at passenger facilitation to one intended to enhance security--or, at least, that is what we were told when a bipartisan group of Members led by Representatives MEEHAN and DEFAZIO began asking hard questions about why a preclearance facility was being opened in Abu Dhabi, an airport at which no U.S. flag carriers operate.

Since preclearance operations commenced in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, representatives from DHS, including Secretary Johnson, have repeatedly stated that they are looking to expand the program to other high-risk overseas airports. Enactment of H.R. 3488 would ensure that, before DHS entered into another preclearance agreement, thoughtful consideration is given to the potential homeland security benefits of such an expansion, as well as the potential impacts to CBP staff at domestic ports of

entry. Importantly, the bill also requires DHS to report to Congress on the potential economic, competitive, and job-related impacts opening such a facility would have on United States air carriers.

During committee consideration of the bill, an amendment that I offered was accepted that would require any passenger arriving in the U.S. who is determined to be a selectee to undergo security rescreening by the Transportation Security Administration before being permitted to board a domestic flight in the United States. This provision would ensure that any traveler that is determined to be potentially dangerous undergoes security screening on U.S. soil before being allowed to board a domestic

flight.

Finally, the bill prohibits the opening of a new preclearance facility unless at least one United States passenger carrier operates at the airport where preclearance operations would be established. This provision will ensure that we do not see a repeat of the circumstances surrounding the opening of the preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi, where a foreign airline was provided a significant competitive advantage over U.S. carriers.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on H.R. 3488, the Preclearance Authorization Act of 2014.

[Time: 16:30]

4:30 PM EDT
Michael McCaul, R-TX 10th

Mr. McCAUL. Mr. Speaker, I would first like to commend the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Meehan) for his hard work and leadership on this issue, this bill. He rallied more than 150 Members of Congress--no small feat in this institution--to express his concern over the way the DHS preclearance operations in Abu Dhabi were set up last year. The commonsense bill before us today should be supported by every Member of this body. Pushing out the border through operations like preclearance

allows Customs and Border Protection to identify and intercept threats, including dangerous people and cargo, long before they ever reach our shores. So it is a noble concept.

Preclearance facilities have served America's interests by facilitating secure trade and travel since the 1950s. Since 9/11, the security value of these facilities has only increased.

However, I share the concerns of many of my colleagues regarding the rollout of a preclearance facility that was recently established in Abu Dhabi, which was the first such facility set up after 9/11. The process by which CBP announced and created this facility was not transparent, raising several questions about the suitability of that location.

I recently had the opportunity to visit this preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi on a delegation that I led to the region, and I came away convinced that there is real security value in putting our CBP officers overseas. However, I think it is appropriate that Congress weigh in on how we go about establishing future preclearance operations, given the controversy and mismanaged rollout of Abu Dhabi.

This bill strengthens the homeland security elements of preclearance operations by requiring that comparable aviation security screening standards are in place prior to beginning preclearance operations. It would also require rescreening of passengers and cargo if security standards are not maintained overseas.

This bill takes steps to reduce the potential for missteps by requiring a series of notifications and certifications to the Congress long before new preclearance facilities are established. Under the requirements of this bill, DHS must now certify that future facilities serve the national interests, stakeholders must be properly consulted, and U.S. airlines must have equal access to locations under consideration. This legislation we are considering is a result of extensive consultation with industry,

the Department itself, and Members from both parties.

Again, I want to thank Chairman MEEHAN for his hard work and oversight on this important program. I want to thank the ranking member of the full committee, Bennie Thompson, and the ranking member of the subcommittee for, once again, on our committee, showing great bipartisanship to get the will of the people done in this House.

4:30 PM EDT
Michael McCaul, R-TX 10th

Mr. McCAUL. Mr. Speaker, I would first like to commend the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Meehan) for his hard work and leadership on this issue, this bill. He rallied more than 150 Members of Congress--no small feat in this institution--to express his concern over the way the DHS preclearance operations in Abu Dhabi were set up last year. The commonsense bill before us today should be supported by every Member of this body. Pushing out the border through operations like preclearance

allows Customs and Border Protection to identify and intercept threats, including dangerous people and cargo, long before they ever reach our shores. So it is a noble concept.

Preclearance facilities have served America's interests by facilitating secure trade and travel since the 1950s. Since 9/11, the security value of these facilities has only increased.

However, I share the concerns of many of my colleagues regarding the rollout of a preclearance facility that was recently established in Abu Dhabi, which was the first such facility set up after 9/11. The process by which CBP announced and created this facility was not transparent, raising several questions about the suitability of that location.

I recently had the opportunity to visit this preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi on a delegation that I led to the region, and I came away convinced that there is real security value in putting our CBP officers overseas. However, I think it is appropriate that Congress weigh in on how we go about establishing future preclearance operations, given the controversy and mismanaged rollout of Abu Dhabi.

This bill strengthens the homeland security elements of preclearance operations by requiring that comparable aviation security screening standards are in place prior to beginning preclearance operations. It would also require rescreening of passengers and cargo if security standards are not maintained overseas.

This bill takes steps to reduce the potential for missteps by requiring a series of notifications and certifications to the Congress long before new preclearance facilities are established. Under the requirements of this bill, DHS must now certify that future facilities serve the national interests, stakeholders must be properly consulted, and U.S. airlines must have equal access to locations under consideration. This legislation we are considering is a result of extensive consultation with industry,

the Department itself, and Members from both parties.

Again, I want to thank Chairman MEEHAN for his hard work and oversight on this important program. I want to thank the ranking member of the full committee, Bennie Thompson, and the ranking member of the subcommittee for, once again, on our committee, showing great bipartisanship to get the will of the people done in this House.

4:33 PM EDT
Donald M. Payne Jr., D-NJ 10th

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

Mr. Speaker, as you heard, H.R. 3488 enjoys the support of members of the Committee on Homeland Security. Indeed, this bill has a bipartisan collection of 154 cosponsors.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I urge all Members to support H.R. 3488, the Preclearance Authorization Act of 2014, and I yield back the balance of my time.

4:33 PM EDT
Donald M. Payne Jr., D-NJ 10th

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

Mr. Speaker, as you heard, H.R. 3488 enjoys the support of members of the Committee on Homeland Security. Indeed, this bill has a bipartisan collection of 154 cosponsors.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I urge all Members to support H.R. 3488, the Preclearance Authorization Act of 2014, and I yield back the balance of my time.

4:33 PM EDT
Donald M. Payne Jr., D-NJ 10th

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

Mr. Speaker, as you heard, H.R. 3488 enjoys the support of members of the Committee on Homeland Security. Indeed, this bill has a bipartisan collection of 154 cosponsors.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I urge all Members to support H.R. 3488, the Preclearance Authorization Act of 2014, and I yield back the balance of my time.

4:34 PM EDT
Patrick L. Meehan, R-PA 7th

Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Speaker, I want to express my deep appreciation to my [Page: H5845]

colleagues from both sides of the aisle for responding so collectively to the importance of this issue.

First and foremost, the principle that I think we stand for on both sides of the aisle is, when important issues like this are raised, that there be appropriate consultation with Congress and an appropriate understanding of the clear articulation by Homeland Security of the benefit that they expect to reach.

As the chairman has identified, once he visited Abu Dhabi, he came away convinced that there was a benefit. But the idea that that would not have been shared with us prior to entering that agreement is one of the critical things that we want to see addressed by this legislation.

But it is also the inability of the Department to appreciate or to take into consideration the impact that this will have, that it may have, and, in fact, it will have when there is no United States airline flying from Abu Dhabi. And the competitive disadvantage of that, which is generated by the fact that individuals who choose to fly the foreign airline currently get right into our country once they get into the preclearance facility, while those on American airlines coming into the same airport

will wait in long lines. It creates a competitive disadvantage and the real possibility of a loss of American jobs.

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

4:34 PM EDT
Patrick L. Meehan, R-PA 7th

Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Speaker, I want to express my deep appreciation to my [Page: H5845]

colleagues from both sides of the aisle for responding so collectively to the importance of this issue.

First and foremost, the principle that I think we stand for on both sides of the aisle is, when important issues like this are raised, that there be appropriate consultation with Congress and an appropriate understanding of the clear articulation by Homeland Security of the benefit that they expect to reach.

As the chairman has identified, once he visited Abu Dhabi, he came away convinced that there was a benefit. But the idea that that would not have been shared with us prior to entering that agreement is one of the critical things that we want to see addressed by this legislation.

But it is also the inability of the Department to appreciate or to take into consideration the impact that this will have, that it may have, and, in fact, it will have when there is no United States airline flying from Abu Dhabi. And the competitive disadvantage of that, which is generated by the fact that individuals who choose to fly the foreign airline currently get right into our country once they get into the preclearance facility, while those on American airlines coming into the same airport

will wait in long lines. It creates a competitive disadvantage and the real possibility of a loss of American jobs.

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