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

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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.