WASHINGTON — Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, with Ranking Member Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) applauded the 14-0 approval of the DHS Accountability Act during the committee business meeting Wednesday.
The bill will codify key aspects of Secretary Jeh Johnson’s “Unity of Effort” reforms to improve DHS headquarters management and cross-department coordination. The legislation also includes significant new reforms to improve accountability and transparency at the DHS. For example, the bill requires new reporting about border security and immigration overstay statistics. The DHS’s undersecretary for intelligence and analysis will be required to prepare and submit to Congress an annual homeland security assessment, identifying threats to homeland security, and the DHS secretary is required to respond to the security assessment. The bill also reforms DHS’s workforce policies, including providing stronger whistleblower protections.
“Our nation faces serious threats to homeland security, from ISIS to international drug traffickers. This bipartisan legislation will help Secretary Jeh Johnson and DHS management improve the department’s ability to protect our nation. It will also hold the department accountable to Congress and the American people, through increased transparency, stronger whistleblower protections, and an annual homeland security assessment to identify threats to our security,” said Chairman Johnson.
“I’m pleased that our committee continues to find common ground on bipartisan legislation to help the government get better results for less money,” said Ranking Member Carper. “Specifically, the bipartisan DHS Accountability Act will make needed changes to improve accountability and transparency at DHS while supporting continued efforts to bring cohesion to the department. By authorizing the department’s Unity of Effort Initiative, which works to bring the 22 component agencies together to share resources and better coordinate, we can continue to strengthen DHS and make it more than the sum of its parts. I thank Secretary Johnson for his efforts to bring further cohesion to the department and Chairman Johnson and my colleagues on the committee for their continued work to support the mission of DHS and ensure we are good stewards of taxpayer dollars. I urge my colleagues in the Senate and the House to take up and pass this legislation quickly.”
The bill text can be found here.