WASHINGTON – The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Wednesday reported out chemical security legislation that would extend for three years the current program to protect chemical facilities from terrorist attack and from being used, as one expert put it, as “pre-positioned weapons of mass destruction.”

            The Committee also reported out earmark transparency legislation and a bill requiring regular polygraphs of Customs and Border Protection officers.

            “Personally, I think we should do more than just extend the chemical security program as is,” Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., said. “Ongoing security gaps – for example the lack of security at drinking and waste water plants – need to be closed. And the best security for all chemical facilities is to use what we call “inherently safer” chemicals and processes where appropriate. I will certainly try to strengthen this legislation as it moves forward in an effort to put it on more permanent footing and for the sake of our national security.”

            The Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009, H.R. 2868 was approved 13-0 as amended by a substitute amendment from Committee Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me. The Earmark Transparency Act, S.3335, sponsored by Senator Tom Coburn, R-Okla., was reported out 11-5.

    Other legislation reported out of Committee en bloc includes:
•    S. 2991, Government Accountability Office Improvement Act of 2010;
•    S. 3243, Anti-Border Corruption Act of 2010;
•    S. 2902, Federal Acquisition Institute Improvement Act of 2009;
•    H.R. 3980, Redundancy Elimination and Enhanced Performance for Preparedness Grants Act;
•    H.R. 1517, a bill to allow certain U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees who serve under an overseas limited appointment for at least two years, and whose service is rated fully successful or higher throughout that time, to be converted to a permanent appointment in the competitive service;
•    S. 3650, a bill to amend chapter 21 of title 5, U.S. Code, to provide that fathers of certain permanently disabled or deceased veterans shall be included with mothers of such veterans as preferable eligibles for treatment in the civil service.
•    S. 3567, a bill to designate the facility of the U.S. Postal Service located at 100 Broadway in Lynbrook, New York, as the “Navy Corpsman Jeffrey L. Wiener Post Office Building;”
•    H.R. 5278, a bill to designate the facility of the U.S. Postal Service located at 405 West Second Street in Dixon, Illinois, as the “President Ronald W. Reagan Post Office Building;”
•    H.R. 5395, a bill to designate the facility of the U.S. Postal Service located at 151 North Maitland Avenue in Maitland, Florida, as the “Paula Hawkins Post Office Building.