United States House Committee on Homeland Security

Last updated
House Homeland Security Committee
Standing committee
Active
Seal of the United States House of Representatives.svg
United States House of Representatives
116th Congress
History
FormedJune 19, 2002
Leadership
Chair Bennie Thompson (D)
Since January 3, 2019
Ranking member Mike Rogers (R)
Since January 3, 2019
Vice chair Lauren Underwood (D)
Since January 3, 2019
Structure
Seats31
Political partiesMajority (18)
Minority (13)
Jurisdiction
Oversight authority Department of Homeland Security
Senate counterpart Senate Homeland Security Committee
Subcommittees
Website
homeland.house.gov

    The U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives. Its responsibilities include U.S. security legislation and oversight of the Department of Homeland Security.

    United States House of Representatives lower house of the United States Congress

    The United States House of Representatives is the lower house of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper house. Together they compose the national legislature of the United States.

    Contents

    Role of the Committee

    The committee conducts oversight and handles legislation (and resolutions) related to the security of the United States. The committee may amend, approve, or table homeland security related bills. It also has the power to hold hearings, conduct investigations, and subpoena witnesses. Additionally, the committee has authorization and policy oversight responsibilities over the Department of Homeland Security.

    A subpoena or witness summons is a writ issued by a government agency, most often a court, to compel testimony by a witness or production of evidence under a penalty for failure. There are two common types of subpoena:

    1. subpoena ad testificandum orders a person to testify before the ordering authority or face punishment. The subpoena can also request the testimony to be given by phone or in person.
    2. subpoena duces tecum orders a person or organization to bring physical evidence before the ordering authority or face punishment. This is often used for requests to mail copies of documents to requesting party or directly to court.

    Rules of the Committee

    The committee meets on the first Wednesday of each month while the House is in session. It is not permitted to conduct business unless a quorum is present, which the rules define as one third of its members. A majority of members are required for certain actions including: issuing a subpoena, entering executive session, and immunizing a witness. Committee members have access to classified information but must adhere to stringent access control procedures.

    Quorum

    A quorum is the minimum number of members of a deliberative assembly necessary to conduct the business of that group. According to Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, the "requirement for a quorum is protection against totally unrepresentative action in the name of the body by an unduly small number of persons."

    History of the Committee

    In the 107th Congress, the House Select Committee on Homeland Security was established on June 19, 2002, pursuant to H. Res. 449 (adopted by voice vote). The Committee was composed of nine Members of the House: Mr. Armey, Chairman; Mr. DeLay; Mr. Watts of Oklahoma; Ms. Pryce of Ohio; Mr. Portman; Ms. Pelosi; Mr. Frost; Mr. Menendez; and Ms. DeLauro.

    The mandate of the Select Committee in the 107th Congress was to “develop recommendations and report to the House on such matters that relate to the establishment of a department of homeland security.” The Select Committee accomplished its mandate on November 22, 2002, when the House concurred in the Senate amendment to H.R. 5005 by unanimous consent, and cleared H.R. 5005 for the President. The bill was presented to the President on November 22, 2002, and was signed on November 25, 2002, becoming Public Law number 107-296, the "Homeland Security Act of 2002".

    The termination date of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security was “after final disposition of a bill including final disposition of any veto message on such bill,” which occurred on November 25, 2002.

    The second select committee was formed in 2003 at the beginning of the 108th Congress as a select committee with Rep. Christopher Cox of California as its Chairman and Jim Turner of Texas as its Ranking Member. The creation of the committee was necessitated by the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. As an executive branch department, the newly formed Department of Homeland Security required congressional counterparts to facilitate legislative action and oversight.

    Christopher Cox American lawyer and politician

    Charles Christopher Cox is an American lawyer and former Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a 17-year Republican member of the United States House of Representatives, and member of the White House staff in the Reagan Administration. Prior to his Washington service he was a practicing attorney, teacher, and entrepreneur. Since 2014, he has been a partner of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and president of Morgan Lewis Consulting LLC.

    California State of the United States of America

    California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents across a total area of about 163,696 square miles (423,970 km2), California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.

    Jim Turner (politician) American politician

    James William Turner, known as Jim Turner, is an American lawyer and politician who was the Democratic U.S. Representative for Texas's 2nd congressional district from 1997 until 2005.

    The committee was made permanent when it was elevated to standing status by vote of the House of Representatives on January 4, 2005 on the opening day of the 109th Congress, again with Rep. Chris Cox as its first permanent Chairman. Rep. Bennie G. Thompson of Mississippi was the Committee' first permanent Ranking Member. Chris Cox, however, resigned from Congress in July 2005 to become the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Rep. Peter T. King of New York was named as his replacement as Chairman for the remainder of the 109th Congress.

    109th United States Congress 2005-2007 U.S. Congress

    The One Hundred Ninth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives, from January 3, 2005 to January 3, 2007, during the fifth and sixth years of George W. Bush's presidency. House members were elected in the 2004 elections on November 2, 2004. Senators were elected in three classes in the 2000 elections on November 7, 2000, 2002 elections on November 5, 2002, or 2004 elections on November 2, 2004. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Twenty-second Census of the United States in 2000. Both chambers had a Republican majority, the same party as President Bush.

    Mississippi State of the United States of America

    Mississippi is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Mississippi is the 32nd largest and 34th-most populous of the 50 United States. Mississippi is bordered to the north by Tennessee, to the east by Alabama, to the south by the Gulf of Mexico, to the southwest by Louisiana, and to the northwest by Arkansas. Mississippi's western boundary is largely defined by the Mississippi River. Jackson is both the state's capital and largest city. Greater Jackson, with an estimated population of 580,166 in 2018, is the most populous metropolitan area in Mississippi and the 95th-most populous in the United States.

    Peter T. King U.S. Representative from New York

    Peter Thomas King is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for New York's 2nd congressional district since 2013. A member of the Republican Party, King is currently in his 14th term in Congress, having served since 1993. He represents a South Shore Long Island district that includes parts of Nassau County and Suffolk County and was previously numbered as the 3rd congressional district.

    As Congress switched parties at the beginning of the 110th, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson was the Chairman of the Committee and Rep. Peter King was the Ranking Member. Congress switches parties again at the beginning of the 112th, and King became the Chairman, and Thompson the Ranking Member. As Congress switched parties at the beginning of the 116th Thompson again resumed the chair. The Committee continues to operate in a bipartisan manner, passing almost all of its legislation out of the Committee unanimously.

    Hearings

    Airport computed tomography (CT) scanners

    In November 2017, the full Homeland Security Committee held a hearing to understand how fast the U.S. government could install CT scanners into every airport in the country in order to fight threats to airlines. The hearing focused on the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) role in keeping the country secure. The hearing was scheduled because a classified security briefing that was held earlier revealed vulnerabilities to the aviation system that concerned committee members. The latest threats, according to committee Chairman Michael McCaul, "were terrorists using electronic devices and laptops as bombs, and exploding the device on an airplane while the plane is in flight." [1]

    DHS Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Office

    On December 7, 2017, the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications held a hearing about the creation of a new office within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) called the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Office. “The purpose of the CWMD is to work every day to prevent another catastrophic attack, one using weapons or materials that have the potential to kill our citizens in numbers that dwarf previous attacks,” [2] said James McDonnell, assistant secretary for countering weapons of mass destruction and director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office for within DHS. In his remarks, the subcommittee chairman Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY) said that the threat of weapons of mass destruction "has changed and become more diverse." [2] One witness discussed drone delivery of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons as one of the newest threats to homeland security. [2]

    Fiscal year 2018 budget oversight

    In June 2017, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly testified before the committee regarding DHS's piece of President Trump's Fiscal Year 2018 Budget. [3] During the hearing, members of the committee from both parties "expressed opposition to the Trump administration's proposed budget that would cut funding for training and deployment for local security programs by as much as 30 percent next year [2018]." The overall funding for the department, however, under Trump's budget would increase by almost seven percent. Congressman Peter King (R-NY) said the cuts would affect security programs for New York's first responders, and Congressman Donald Payne (D-NJ) questioned how the cuts would help keep safe the ports of Elizabeth and Newark. [4]

    The president's budget for 2018 would: [4]

    In November 2017, in an annual oversight hearing called “World Wide Threats: Keeping America Secure in the New Age of Terror”, leaders of the U.S. government’s national security agencies “offered troubling assessments of the growing threats from terrorism, both internationally and domestically.” [5]

    Members, 116th Congress

    MajorityMinority

    Sources: H.Res. 24 (Chair), H.Res. 25 (Ranking Member), H.Res. 67 (D), H.Res. 68 (R)

    Historical membership rosters

    115th Congress

    MajorityMinority

    Sources: H.Res. 6 (Chair), H.Res. 7 (Ranking Member), H.Res. 45 (D) and H.Res. 51 (R)

    Subcommittees

    SubcommitteeChairRanking Member
    Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations Kathleen Rice (D-NY) Clay Higgins (R-LA)
    Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation Cedric Richmond (D-LA) John Katko (R-NY)
    Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ) Peter T. King (R-NY)
    Intelligence and Counterterrorism Max Rose (D-NY) Mark Walker (R-NC)
    Oversight, Management, and Accountability Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM) Dan Crenshaw (R-TX)
    Transportation and Maritime Security Lou Correa (D-CA) Debbie Lesko (R-AZ)

    Committee chairmen

    See also

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    References

    1. Carey, Liz (2017-11-08). "House Homeland Security Committee pushes for CT scanning at all airports after briefing on terror threats". HomelandPrepNews.com. Retrieved 2017-12-27.
    2. 1 2 3 Carey, Liz (2017-12-08). "Congress probes new office within DHS to counter diverse threat of weapons of mass destruction". HomelandPrepNews.com. Retrieved 2017-12-27.
    3. Mali, Meghashyam (2017-06-05). "Week ahead: Comey to testify publicly on Trump, Russia | DHS chief talks cyber budget". TheHill. Retrieved 2017-06-26.
    4. 1 2 "House Homeland Security Committee opposes Trump's budget cuts to local first responders at hearing". Homeland Preparedness News. 2017-06-07. Retrieved 2017-06-26.
    5. "National security executives offer dire forecasts during Homeland Security Committee hearing". Homeland Preparedness News. 2017-11-30. Retrieved 2017-12-04.