Johnson Calls for Inclusion of Visa Waiver Program Bill in Final Omnibus Package

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, wrote Tuesday to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, requesting inclusion of S. 2362, the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, in the Senate’s final omnibus package.

“As you know, the bill takes significant steps towards enhancing the Visa Waiver Program,” Johnson wrote.  “It will deny VWP status to individuals who have connections to terrorist hotspots, demand strong intelligence and law enforcement information sharing, enhance screening of all travelers in VWP countries, help prevent extremists from using documents to evade detection, increase threat monitoring of VWP countries, and take steps to ensure VWP travelers do not falsify their background information.  My bill will also promote preclearance, enhance the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, and codify efforts to increase the use of Federal Air Marshals. 

“I believe, together, these reforms will strengthen the Visa Waiver Program and take significant steps toward preventing those who seek to cause us harm from entering our country through this program, while at the same time maintaining legitimate travel and the benefits associated with this partnership. As the holiday season approaches, we must ensure that Congress acts swiftly.”

Johnson said Monday the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will explore the legislation further on Wednesday during a roundtable discussion.

Full text of the letter can be found here.
Full text of the bill can be found here.