Candice Miller for Congress, Michigan

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Bipartisan Measure to Improve Maritime Security, Identify Expendable Programs Approved by House Panel

by Candice Miller on April 4, 2012

By Matt Fuller CQ WEEKLY – WEEKLY REPORT

HOMELAND SECURITY

http://www.cq.com/doc/weeklyreport-4057623?wr=bGFldXRDRDVoeHFmSkJ3Y01pZEVsZw

A House Homeland Security panel has advanced bipartisan legislation intended to bolster maritime security while reducing redundancies and waste in port security programs.

The Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee on March 26 gave voice-vote approval to the bill (HR 4251). The legislation would standardize the acquisition process and require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to ensure that acquisitions are necessary.

“It’s time for the Department of Homeland Security to take a hard look at their acquisition decisions to find common platforms and reduce the cost of maritime and aviation assets with overlapping mission requirements,” said subcommittee Chairwoman Candice S. Miller, R-Mich.

In addition to streamlining the acquisition process, the legislation would look to save money by identifying expendable port security programs. The bill would require the DHS secretary to develop a coordination plan outlining agency responsibilities to minimize waste. “In an era of tight budgetary constraints, we have to ensure we’re making the best use of limited taxpayer dollars,” Miller said.

Henry Cuellar of Texas, the panel’s ranking Democrat, echoed Miller’s sentiments. “As a whole, the legislation will help the department better secure our ports while reducing inefficiency and waste,” he said. “I strongly support the provisions to improve the procurement of maritime security assets and save taxpayer dollars.”

Before advancing the bill, the panel gave voice-vote approval to a Miller amendment that added language to ease cross-border maritime trade and security operations with Canada. Under the proposal, ships cleared by Canadian officials would be considered safe and would not require more security checks by U.S. officials.

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