Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (H.R. 4127)by Representative Betty McCollum
Posted on 2015-12-09
in the house of representatives
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Speaker, last June the House voted on a partisan
Intelligence Authorization, H.R. 2596. Along with 178 of my colleagues,
I voted against that authorization. Since June, negotiations among
Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence
Committees have taken place resulting in the improved bill before us
today, H.R. 4127.
This bipartisan compromise ensures that the Intelligence Community will have the funding and resources they need to keep America safe, maintain necessary intelligence capabilities, and counter a myriad of threats, including ISIL and cybersecurity. It strengthens Congressional oversight and provides strict authorizations and limitations on intelligence activities. Along with reforms included in the bipartisan USA Freedom Act of 2015 which was signed into law in June of this year, H.R. 4127 makes critical steps towards ensuring our intelligence programs are conducted responsibly and with strong accountability to maximize both security and privacy.
As importantly, H.R. 4127 rectifies the inappropriate and unnecessary use of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding that was included in H.R. 2596 to circumvent the Budget Control Act funding caps. This correction will allow for more stable budgeting for the Intelligence Community for the remainder of the fiscal year.
However, this bill unfortunately continues to contain provisions that will prevent the closure of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. While I strongly oppose measures to prevent the closure of the detention center, the provisions in H.R. 4127 have already been codified into law in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016.
Ensuring that our Intelligence Community has the resources, support and tools they need is critical to our national security. We must also ensure that strong privacy protections are included to ensure that we safeguard our civil liberties. While not perfect, this compromise is much improved from the bill that left this House in June and therefore earns my support.