This week, the House will vote on a year-long spending bill that takes several concrete steps to enhance our national security and keep Americans safe. The recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino highlighted the need for increased vigilance against those who seek to do us harm. Here are a few of the ways the House is addressing these threats:
- Strengthening the Visa Waiver Program. Senior U.S. intelligence officials believe that vulnerabilities within the Visa Waiver Program, which allows citizens of 38 participating countries to visit America for up to 90 days without a visa, may serve as a gateway for foreign terrorists seeking to infiltrate our borders. In response, the House voted overwhelmingly in favor of bipartisan legislation authored by Chairman Candice Miller (R-MI) to strengthen the program by increasing data sharing with our international partners, beefing up regular reviews of the program, and requiring travelers who recently visited countries of concern to obtain a visa before entering the U.S. This bill is included in the appropriations package to help ensure we know exactly who is crossing our borders.
- Increasing defense spending. In his Library of Congress speech earlier this month, Speaker Ryan argued that building a more confident America requires building a 21st century military capable of protecting Americans at home and abroad. This means ensuring our troops are equipped with the tools necessary to carry out their mission safely and effectively. The increased military funding levels in this bill will enhance our preparedness so we can aggressively combat foreign terrorism and protect U.S. national security interests around the globe.
- Restricting the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees. Despite the president’s repeated attempts to circumvent Congress and the American people on Guantanamo, we must prevent the world’s most dangerous terrorists from reaching our shores. That’s why this bill reaffirms critical restrictions on transferring Guantanamo detainees to U.S. soil.
- Strengthening our Intelligence Community. The bill includes the annual Intelligence Authorization Act, which supports critical national security programs such as those protecting Americans from terrorism and cyberattacks. Moreover, this bipartisan measure sustains critical capabilities to fight terrorism, counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and sustain efforts to combat radical Islamic extremism at home and abroad.
- Enhancing cybersecurity. Another key provision, the Cybersecurity Act, establishes a new, voluntary process to enhance public-private data sharing on cybersecurity information without legal barriers and the threat of unfounded litigation—all while protecting private information. It also improves federal network and information system security, provides assessments on the federal cybersecurity workforce, and provides reporting and strategies on cybersecurity industry-related and criminal-related matters.
Read the text of the year-long spending bill.