Federal Emergency Management Agency Reauthorization
On Tuesday, October 22, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) introduced the first ever Federal Emergency Management Reauthorization Act (H.R. 3300). The bipartisan bill is co-sponsored by full committee Ranking Member Nick Rahall (D-WV), Emergency Management Subcommittee Chairman Lou Barletta (R-PA), and subcommittee Ranking Member Andre Carson (D-IN). The legislation encourages greater coordination between local, state, and federal emergency response personnel; creates a framework for modernizing the nation’s public alert and warning system; and provides liability coverage for volunteer search teams in case of injury or death.
Immigration and Border Security
Although thousands of people marched on Washington in early October to demand immigration reform, and House Democrats introduced a comprehensive bill, many observers remain skeptical that the House will pass meaningful immigration reform legislation in 2013. However, some are beginning to argue that House Republicans may attempt to tackle immigration reform to regain popular support they lost during the government shutdown. House Republicans are still drafting a bill to grant legal status to young people brought to the United States illegally as children, and House Judiciary Committee aides report that Republicans have also begun drafting a bill to grant some level of legal status to undocumented immigrants who have not broken other laws. Reps. Raul Labrador (R-ID) and Ted Poe (R-TX) are also drafting a bill to address low-skilled worker immigration.
Senators Unite to Delay Flood Insurance Rate Increases
A legislative framework to temper or halt flood insurance rate hikes has been reached by a group of members, including Sens. David Vitter (R-LA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), John Hoeven (R-ND), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Bill Nelson (D-FL). Sen. Vitter explained that the group agreed on a two-step approach: (1) freeze premium increases for at least two years or until the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) completes a study on flood insurance policy affordability; and (2) institute changes to how FEMA determines each region’s flood risk and corresponding rate increases.
This Week’s Hearings:
- Tuesday, October 29: The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a full committee mark up on the following bills:
- A bill to amend Title 49, United States Code, to direct the assistant secretary of Homeland Security (Transportation Security Administration) to transfer unclaimed money recovered at airport security checkpoints to nonprofit organizations that provide places of rest and recuperation at airports for members of the armed forces and their families, and for other purposes (H.R. 1905);
- Aviation Security Stakeholder Participation Act of 2013 (H.R. 1204);
- Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act (H.R. 1791);
- Transportation Security Acquisition Reform Act (H.R. 2719);
- A bill to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to make certain improvements in the laws relating to the advancement of security technologies for critical infrastructure protection, and for other purposes (H.R. 2952); and
- Homeland Security Cybersecurity Boots-on-the-Ground Act (H.R. 3107).
- Wednesday, October 30: The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency will hold a hearing titled “Facility Protection: Implications of the Navy Yard Shooting in Homeland Security.”
- Thursday, October 31: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a full committee hearing titled “The Navy Yard Tragedy: Examining Government Clearances and Background Checks.”
DHS Issues Post-Shutdown E-Verify Guidance
During the government shutdown, U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) suspended the requirement to verify new hires’ employment status and resolve Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNCs) within three days because employers and job applicants could not access their E-Verify accounts. USCIS has announced that applicants have 12 federal business days to resolve TNCs, and employers have until November 5 to create an E-Verify entry for each employee hired during the government shutdown.