All articles in House section

USE OF GRANT FUNDS FOR PROJECTS CONDUCTED IN CONJUNCTION WITH A NATIONAL LABORATORY OR RESEARCH FACILITY
(House of Representatives - June 26, 2012)

Text of this article available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

        


[Pages H4014-H4015]
    USE OF GRANT FUNDS FOR PROJECTS CONDUCTED IN CONJUNCTION WITH A 
                NATIONAL LABORATORY OR RESEARCH FACILITY

  Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and 
pass the bill (H.R. 5843) to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to 
permit use of certain grant funds for training conducted in conjunction 
with a national laboratory or research facility.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 5843

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. USE OF GRANT FUNDS FOR PROJECTS CONDUCTED IN 
                   CONJUNCTION WITH A NATIONAL LABORATORY OR 
                   RESEARCH FACILITY.

       Section 2008(a)(2) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 
     U.S.C. 609(a)(2)) is amended by inserting ``training 
     conducted in conjunction with a national laboratory or 
     research facility and'' after ``including''.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from New 
York (Mr. King) and the gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. Thompson) each 
will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York.


                             General Leave

  Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all 
Members have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their 
remarks and include any extraneous material on the bill under 
consideration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from New York?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Speaker, this bill, introduced by Mr. Lungren, is a simple 
statutory clarification that allows State and local governments and 
emergency management officials to use existing FEMA State Homeland 
Security Grant Program and Urban Area Security Initiative funds to work 
with national labs where appropriate.
  H.R. 5843 amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 by inserting a 
clarification into the ``allowable use'' section of the Homeland 
Security Grant Program section. Clarifying this ``allowable use'' under 
the grants program will allow these State and local first responders to 
leverage the expertise at national labs for research and training 
purposes.
  This is a simple, solid, good government measure that will help 
maximize the use of limited Federal grant dollars. This bill will allow 
State and local officials to cut through FEMA red tape, which makes it 
harder for first responders to work with the Federal national labs and 
make the best decisions for their homeland security needs. This bill 
will eliminate hoops that State and locals have to go through to gain 
access to this expertise and training.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from California (Mr. Lungren) for 
his work on this issue and so many others on the committee.
  I urge passage of the bill. I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as 
I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I'm perplexed that the House is considering H.R. 5843 
today. I cannot understand why this bill is on the schedule. It was 
introduced just over a month ago and has not been vetted by the 
committee. Why are we giving expedited attention to a bill that has 
just two cosponsors, both of whom are Republican? Whatever the problem 
it purports to solve has not been the subject of so much as a Member-
level briefing, let alone a hearing or a markup.
  Section 208(a)(13) of the Homeland Security Act already allows the 
Department to approve the spending of grant funds on training by 
national labs. Without so much as a hearing where the committee can 
take testimony on this matter, it is hard to justify taking up precious 
House floor time on this bill, especially in a week where we must take 
urgent action on Pell Grants and highway funding. So instead, I choose 
to use this time to discuss the dwindling Federal support for homeland 
security activities, a far more timely concern for State, local, and 
tribal authorities than H.R. 5843.
  In the wake of the September 11 attack, as a government, we committed 
to safeguarding our homeland by building and preserving preparedness 
capabilities. Yet since the beginning of the 112th Congress, that 
commitment seems to have dangerously wavered.
  In just 2 short years, vital Homeland Security Grant Programs have 
been significantly cut, and, as a result, the level of preparedness 
fostered by the programs, such as the Urban Areas Security Initiative, 
Port Security Grant Program, Transit Security Grant Program, and the 
Metropolitan Medical Response System, have been undermined. Given that 
the authorizations for many of these targeted programs are expiring, a 
far better use of our time would be to reauthorize the Transit Security 
Grant Program or the Metropolitan Medical Response program.

[[Page H4015]]

  Mr. Speaker, before I reserve my time, I would note for the record 
that there are two other much more plausible candidates for 
consideration by the full House that were introduced by the gentleman 
from California. One addressed the cybersecurity threat and was ordered 
reported in April. The other authorizes DHS's chemical facility 
security program and is pending on the Union Calendar.
  Mr. Speaker, speaking of the Union Calendar, I would also note that 
this bill is receiving expedited consideration while four measures 
ordered reported by the Committee on Homeland Security remain on the 
Union Calendar without action.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Speaker, I am proud, at this time, to yield 
such time as he may consume to the distinguished gentleman from 
California (Mr. Lungren), who is chairman of the Subcommittee on 
Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies; 
and during his time on the committee has contributed as much as, if not 
more than, any other Member, and, in fact, returned to Congress for the 
purpose of doing all he could to enhance our homeland security.
  Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California. I thank the gentleman for 
yielding.
  I might say that this should not be a surprise bill to anybody. This 
is actually a part of the authorization bill that we already worked on. 
It has come about as a result of the fact of complaints from local 
jurisdictions that they were unable to utilize funds in a way that they 
thought was most effective.
  This bill would simply permit recipients of certain FEMA grants to 
use this funding for training and exercises conducted in conjunction 
with a national lab or Federal research facility. There's no additional 
cost. The CBO report shows there's no additional cost. In other words, 
the bill expands the allowable use of FEMA grants and ensures that 
emergency managers, first responders, and local governments can use 
these grant dollars to leverage the expertise of our national labs and 
research facilities.
  We have had plenty of hearings on the viability of our national labs 
and research facilities and the fact that we need to leverage more, in 
these tough budget times, their expertise to help us come up with 
solutions and prepare, among others, first responders to the challenges 
that we face in these times. With fewer grant dollars available, it's 
important that State and local governments be able to use them for the 
greatest public benefit.
  As we all know, State and local governments everywhere are also 
operating under severe budget limitations, and increasing the allowable 
use of FEMA grants helps these cash-strapped governments to address 
their emergency needs. Using our existing national assets for training 
and research is another way to efficiently leverage the scientific 
expertise available at these facilities.
  I just want to correct the record. This is not just cosponsored by 
two other Members, both of whom are Republicans. It is cosponsored by 
Representative Stark from California and Representative Lujan from New 
Mexico. In addition, on the Republican side, Mr. Turner from New York, 
Mr. Long from Missouri, Mr. Marino from Pennsylvania, Mr. Bilirakis 
from Florida, and Mr. King from New York.

                              {time}  1710

  We have heard not only from entities in the State of California, but 
I believe also in New York and New Jersey about concerns that they were 
unable to use their grants in the most efficient way, and absent a 
clarification of statutory language, FEMA was not going to allow them 
to participate in this way.
  Now, some would ask what examples might we have of how these funds 
might be used. I will just use my home State of California. The Naval 
Postgraduate School, which is a Federal entity in Monterey, provides 
unique training to State and local officials through its Center for 
Homeland Defense and Security. The Lawrence Livermore Laboratory is a 
government-owned, contract-operated facility managed through a contract 
between the Laboratory Board of Governors and DOE's National Nuclear 
Security Administration. These national labs can provide a myriad of 
research and technical support to programs that support State and local 
emergency responders, things such as risk analysis and security systems 
evaluation. And just another example, the Navy Space and Naval Warfare 
Systems Command in San Diego has substantial capability and interest in 
helping emergency responders with communications and nuclear detention.
  So we are responding in as quick a fashion as we can to complaints 
that we've heard from local jurisdictions that they were unable to use 
their FEMA grants in the most effective way in leveraging, as I say, 
the expertise, the unique expertise of national labs and Federal 
research facilities. That is the purpose of this legislation. It is a 
very simple, a one-sentence clarification of the underlying statute. I 
would hope that we have unanimous support for this bill.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I'm prepared to close. I 
don't have any more speakers.
  Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California. Mr. Speaker, Mr. King had to 
leave, and I ask unanimous consent that I control the time of 
Representative King.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Without objection, the gentleman from 
California will control the time.
  There was no objection.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, we owe it to our Nation's 
first responders to ensure that they have the resources needed to 
perform their jobs and to get it right when we alter the allowable uses 
for those funds. Getting it right in this body requires deliberation 
and debate in the committee of jurisdiction.
  Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, the bill we are considering today failed 
to receive such deliberation or debate. Therefore, it is hard to say 
whether it is responsive to the needs of first responders. What I can 
say for a fact is reauthorizing key Homeland Security grant programs 
would bolster preparedness and be responsive to the needs of our first 
responders.
  And with that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California. Mr. Speaker, this is a simple 
bill responding to a simple problem. Actually, this bill undoes redtape 
that ought not to be there. It leverages the best assets of the Federal 
Government, working with our first responders in our local communities 
in ways that they asked us to try and deal with the problem. It's not a 
fancy bill. It is a simple bill. It is straightforward. And, therefore, 
I ask for a unanimous vote on this from my colleagues, and I yield back 
the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. King) that the House suspend the rules and 
pass the bill, H.R. 5843.
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds 
being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I object to the vote on the 
ground that a quorum is not present and make the point of order that a 
quorum is not present.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this question will be postponed.
  The point of no quorum is considered withdrawn.

                          ____________________




    

All articles in House section