Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?

115th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     115-493

======================================================================

 
          SCREENING AND VETTING PASSENGER EXCHANGE ACT OF 2017

                                _______
                                

January 9, 2018.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

         Mr. McCaul, from the Committee on Homeland Security, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 4581]

    The Committee on Homeland Security, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 4581) to require the Secretary of Homeland 
Security to develop best practices for utilizing advanced 
passenger information and passenger name record data for 
counterterrorism screening and vetting operations, and for 
other purposes, having considered the same, report favorably 
thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     2
Hearings.........................................................     2
Committee Consideration..........................................     3
Committee Votes..................................................     3
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     3
New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures     3
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................     3
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     3
Duplicative Federal Programs.....................................     4
Congressional Earmarks, Limited Tax Benefits, and Limited Tariff 
  Benefits.......................................................     4
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................     4
Preemption Clarification.........................................     4
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     4
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................     4
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................     4
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................     4
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     5

                          Purpose and Summary

    The purpose of H.R. 4581 is to require the Secretary of 
Homeland Security to develop best practices for utilizing 
advanced passenger information (API) and passenger name record 
(PNR) data for counterterrorism screening and vetting 
operations. This bill directs the Secretary of Homeland 
Security to develop best practices for utilizing API and PNR 
data for counterterrorism screening and vetting purposes. It 
also directs the Secretary to make the best practices available 
to foreign partners and provide assistance to those countries 
in implementing the best practices.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    API, or biographic information about a traveler, and PNR, 
or data about a traveler's reservation and itinerary, are 
valuable tools used for screening and vetting potential 
criminals and terrorists. The Department of Homeland Security 
(DHS), especially U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and 
the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), utilize these 
data sets to confirm the identities and travel patterns of 
travelers before they are able to enter the U.S.
    In April 2016, the European Union (EU) adopted a new 
directive requiring its member States to utilize PNR data for 
the prevention, detection, investigation, and prosecution of 
terrorist offenses and serious crime. While this is a positive 
step by our European allies, many EU countries lack the 
knowledge, expertise, or capability to implement this directive 
by the May 2018 deadline. Therefore, H.R. 4581 directs DHS to 
leverage its expertise and experience utilizing API and PNR 
data by developing best practices and making them available to 
Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries-many of which are in the 
EU. This will not only strengthen the security and capabilities 
of our foreign partners, but will also have a major impact on 
the security of the homeland.

                                Hearings

    The Committee did not hold any legislative hearings on H.R. 
4564 in the 115th Congress. However, this legislation was 
informed by a Task Force on Denying Terrorists Entry into the 
United States hearing on May 3, 2017, entitled ``Denying 
Terrorists Entry to the United States: Examining Visa 
Security.'' The Task Force received testimony from: Mr. Edward 
Ramotowski, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Visa 
Services, Department of State; Mr. John Wagner, Deputy 
Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations, 
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland 
Security; Mr. Michael Dougherty, Acting Assistant Secretary for 
Border, Immigration, and Trade, Office of Strategy, Policy, and 
Plans, Department of Homeland Security; Mr. Clark Settles, 
Assistant Director, National Security Investigations, U.S. 
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland 
Security; and Ms. Rebecca Gambler, Director, Homeland Security 
and Justice, Government Accountability Office.
    This legislation was also informed by a Task Force hearing 
on July 13, 2017, entitled ``The Terrorist Diaspora: After the 
Fall of the Caliphate.'' The Task Force received testimony 
from: Mr. Thomas Joscelyn, Senior Fellow, Foundation for 
Defense of Democracies; Mr. Robin Simcox, Margaret Thatcher 
Fellow, The Heritage Foundation; and Dr. Colin P. Clarke, 
Political Scientist, The RAND Corporation.

                        Committee Consideration

    The Committee met on December 13, 2017, to consider H.R. 
4581, and ordered the measure to be reported to the House with 
a favorable recommendation, without amendment, by unanimous 
consent.

                            Committee Votes

    Clause 3(b) of Rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires the Committee to list the recorded 
votes on the motion to report legislation and amendments 
thereto.
    No recorded votes were requested during consideration of 
H.R. 4581.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(1) of Rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee has held oversight 
hearings and made findings that are reflected in this report.

   New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(2) of Rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee finds that H.R. 
4581, the Screening and Vetting Passenger Exchange Act of 2017, 
would result in no new or increased budget authority, 
entitlement authority, or tax expenditures or revenues.

                  Congressional Budget Office Estimate

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(3) of Rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, a cost estimate provided by the 
Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974 was not made available to the 
Committee in time for the filing of this report. The Chairman 
of the Committee shall cause such estimate to be printed in the 
Congressional Record upon its receipt by the Committee.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of Rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, H.R. 4581 contains the following 
general performance goals and objectives, including outcome 
related goals and objectives authorized.
    The goal of this legislation is to ensure that foreign 
partners are able to leverage DHS's expertise and experience 
using API and PNR data for screening and vetting purposes, 
which will not only strengthen the security and capabilities of 
those countries, but will also have a positive impact on the 
security of the homeland.

                      Duplicative Federal Programs

    Pursuant to clause 3(c) of Rule XIII, the Committee finds 
that H.R. 4581 does not contain any provision that establishes 
or reauthorizes a program known to be duplicative of another 
Federal program.

   Congressional Earmarks, Limited Tax Benefits, and Limited Tariff 
                                Benefits

    In compliance with Rule XXI of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, this bill, as reported, contains no 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) of the Rule 
XXI.

                       Federal Mandates Statement

    An estimate of Federal mandates prepared by the Director of 
the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 423 of the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act was not made available to the 
Committee in time for the filing of this report. The Chairman 
of the Committee shall cause such estimate to be printed in the 
Congressional Record upon its receipt by the Committee.

                        Preemption Clarification

    In compliance with section 423 of the Congressional Budget 
Act of 1974, requiring the report of any Committee on a bill or 
joint resolution to include a statement on the extent to which 
the bill or joint resolution is intended to preempt State, 
local, or Tribal law, the Committee finds that H.R. 4581 does 
not preempt any State, local, or Tribal law.

                  Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings

    The Committee estimates that H.R. 4581 would require no 
directed rule makings.

                      Advisory Committee Statement

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act were created by this 
legislation.

                  Applicability to Legislative Branch

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act.

             Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation


Section 1.   Short Title.

    This section provides that this bill may be cited as the 
``Screening and Vetting Passenger Exchange Act of 2017''.

Sec. 2.   Passenger Screening Best Practices.

    This section directs the Secretary of Homeland Security, 
not later than 270 days after the date of enactment of the Act, 
to develop best practices for utilizing advanced passenger 
information and passenger name record data for counterterrorism 
screening and vetting operations. It also directs the 
Secretary, to the greatest extent practicable, to make the best 
practices available to certain countries, including Visa Waiver 
Program countries, and provide assistance to those countries in 
implementing the best practices.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    As reported, H.R. 4581 makes no changes to existing law.