WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, issued the following statement following House passage of H.R. 251, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program Extension Act:
“Over the last two years, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs took the necessary steps to conduct oversight and approve legislation to reauthorize the CFATS program within the Department of Homeland Security. Despite the program’s regulatory burden of $8.5 billion over 10 years, it is far from clear that CFATS reduces the risk of a terrorist attack, and DHS does not meaningfully measure its ability to do so.
“Last year, our committee passed legislation by voice vote to make modest improvements to the CFATS program and reauthorize it for five years. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats blocked my efforts to pass the bill on the Senate floor in November.
“As I have stated in the past, I will not support a long-term reauthorization that fails to make sensible reforms, including H.R. 251.”
In November, Sen. Johnson requested unanimous consent on the Senate floor to pass S. 3405 (Protecting and Securing Chemical Facilities from Terrorist Attacks Act of 2018). Senator Tom Carper objected. A video of the speech can be found here.
Under Chairman Johnson’s leadership, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has taken action to reauthorize and reform the CFATS program:
115th Congress – The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held numerous briefings with chemical facility owners, trade groups, DHS, and other relevant federal agencies.
March 13, 2017 – Chairman Johnson led the request for the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a review of the CFATS program along with Sen. McCaskill and the House Homeland Security Committee.
April 4, 2018 – Chairman Johnson wrote a letter to DHS requesting additional information on the CFATS program, including the status of multiple overdue reports to Congress.
June 12, 2018 – The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a CFATS roundtable with DHS, the GAO, a CFATS chemical inspector, and companies and industry groups.
Sept. 4, 2018 – Chairman Johnson introduced S. 3405, the Protecting and Securing Chemical Facilities from Terrorist Attacks Act of 2018.
Sept. 26, 2018 – S. 3405 was unanimously reported out of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs by voice vote.
Sept. 28, 2018 – Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Mich.), and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) introduced H.R. 6992, a bipartisan House companion.
Oct. 10, 2018 – Sen. Capito joined as a cosponsor to S. 3405.
Oct. 23, 2018 – Sens. Johnson and Capito send letter to the leadership of the House Committee on Homeland Security and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce urging them to pass CFATS reforms.
Nov. 13, 2018 – Sen. Daines joined as a cosponsor to S. 3405.
Nov. 29, 2018 – Chairman Johnson requested unanimous consent to pass S. 3405. Sen. Carper objected.