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  • Homeland Security Bills

    by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard

    Posted on 2015-02-02

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    ROYBAL-ALLARD of california in the house of representatives Monday, February 2, 2015 Ms. ROYBAL-ALLARD. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the three Homeland Security bills under consideration today. H.R. 615, the DHS Interoperable Communications Act, is a bipartisan bill which would improve communication between the many components of the Department of Homeland Security. It is critical for our [[Page E146]] Homeland Security Department to have a state-of-the-art communications infrastructure. The Department needs that infrastructure to ensure the smooth functioning of everything from routine daily operations to terrorism response efforts. To understand the importance of a strong communications network, we only need to look back a few weeks ago, when radio communications failed in a Washington Metro tunnel as emergency officials worked to rescue passengers trapped aboard a smoke-filled train.

    H.R. 361, the Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act, would use grant funding to enhance our nation's preparedness for chemical and biological events. It is an unfortunate fact of modern life that our nation faces genuine threats from chemical and biological attacks. It makes sense for us to take precautions which will put us in a position to deal with such attacks if they occur.

    Finally, H.R. 623, the Social Media Working Group Act of 2015, would authorize the Department of Homeland Security to establish a social media working group, which would offer guidance to the emergency preparedness and response community on how to use social media. I have spent years using social media to communicate with my constituents, and have found it extremely effective in rapidly disseminating important information to a wide audience. Emergency services need to be taught how they can best use social media to quickly and effectively communicate with Americans in the period surrounding a terrorist attack or other crisis.

    All three of these bills take sensible steps to further protect the American people against threats to their well-being. I urge the House to pass these bills.


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