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house Bill H.R. 655

Does Homeland Security Need a Program Focused on Deterring WMD Attacks on Cities?

Argument in favor

There needs to be more coordination between Homeland Security and lower levels of government on the detection and prevention of attacks using nuclear materials. This bill would improve on the status quo, and is relatively inexpensive.

Samantha's Opinion
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01/30/2017
With Trump at the wheel WMDs are a real possibility
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Adriana's Opinion
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01/31/2017
If it's inexpensive and doesn't cost cities additional money then added security at this time in history is important
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Dana's Opinion
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01/31/2017
Well... considering how our new president is running things, we probably need all the protection we can get. I feel like a sitting duck with him in office.
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Argument opposed

Existing programs within Homeland Security and those by state and local governments are sufficient to detect and prevent terror attacks with nuclear materials, and coordination between government agencies is already adequate.

Zitter's Opinion
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01/30/2017
We need to stop buying Fear and start buying Progress, buying Education, buying Healthcare.
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Lisa's Opinion
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01/30/2017
Instead of making one more layer of Federal oversight with myriad levels of red tape, why doesn't the DHS coordinate with local law enforcement -- men and women who already know their respective cities -- to come up with custom Tailored plans implemented at local levels?
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Jeremiah's Opinion
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01/30/2017
The Homeland Security department in our country is an incredibly vague department in itself. We don't need to fund another ambiguous program.
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What is House Bill H.R. 655?

This bill would establish within the Dept. of Homeland Security the Securing the Cities program which would improve the detection and prevention of terrorist attacks or other events that use nuclear or radiological material in high-risk urban areas.


The Director for Domestic Nuclear Detection would be required to establish the Securing the Cities program, and would:

  • Assist state and local governments in designing and implementing, or enhancing existing, systems for coordinated and integrated detection and interdiction of nuclear or radiological materials that are out of regulatory control;

  • Support the development of a region-wide operating capability to detect and report on nuclear and other radioactive materials out of operational control;

  • Provide resources to enhance detection, analysis, communication, and coordination to better integrate state and local assets into federal operations;

  • Facilitate alarm decisions and provide technical assistance and expertise on operational concepts, training, exercises, and alarm response protocols;

  • Promote the sharing of information about the presence or detection of nuclear or other radiological materials among federal, state, and local governments in a transparent manner;

  • Designate participating jurisdictions among high-risk urban areas and other cities and regions as appropriate, and notify Congress at least three days before designating or changing such jurisdictions.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) would compile and submit an assessment that evaluates the effectiveness of the program.

Impact

State and local governments, DHS, GAO, and the Director for Domestic Nuclear Detection.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 655

$500.00 Thousand
The CBO estimated that implementing this legislation during the last Congress would cost less than $500,000.

More Information

In-Depth: In an op-ed appearing in the New York Post when he introduced this legislation during the last session of Congress, sponsoring Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY) noted that funding challenges remain despite constantly evolving security threats in urban areas: 
“To be sure, methods to harm the homeland have evolved. But the basic nature of the threat remains: There are people who wish to kill Americans and will themselves to die to accomplish their objective. In fact, the NYPD, working with federal partners has prevented 16 known terror plots since 9/11. Yet, with each passing year, arguments to defund critical security programs gain supporters.

Alarmingly, funding is slowly decreasing for New York City under the “Securing the Cities” program, which helps first responders detect nuclear materials and prevent attacks. The initiative deploys radiation-detection capabilities to the region’s law-enforcement agencies to identify illicit radiological materials that could be used for an attack.”

This legislation passed the House on a voice vote during the 114th Congress, but didn't advance to the Senate.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Northeast Region)

AKA

Securing the Cities Act of 2017

Official Title

To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to establish the Securing the Cities program to enhance the ability of the United States to detect and prevent terrorist attacks and other high consequence events utilizing nuclear or other radiological materials that pose a high risk to homeland security in high-risk urban areas, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • The house Passed January 31st, 2017
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security
    IntroducedJanuary 24th, 2017

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    With Trump at the wheel WMDs are a real possibility
    Like (35)
    Follow
    Share
    We need to stop buying Fear and start buying Progress, buying Education, buying Healthcare.
    Like (402)
    Follow
    Share
    Instead of making one more layer of Federal oversight with myriad levels of red tape, why doesn't the DHS coordinate with local law enforcement -- men and women who already know their respective cities -- to come up with custom Tailored plans implemented at local levels?
    Like (182)
    Follow
    Share
    The Homeland Security department in our country is an incredibly vague department in itself. We don't need to fund another ambiguous program.
    Like (94)
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    Share
    We should plan for advanced terroristic threats, but let's get white Christian radicals with guns under control first. It is longer term, but is a more likely threat in 2017.
    Like (71)
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    When was the last time a WMD was even used on a major American city? Was it "never"? I feel like it was "never".
    Like (55)
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    Enough of the fear tactics. Americans are less likely to be attacked by a foreign terrorist as they are by a domestic citizen.
    Like (26)
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    I don't think we need more useless programs clouding our view. Invest in education, and work with local law enforcement for a ground-up approach to public safety.
    Like (20)
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    If it's inexpensive and doesn't cost cities additional money then added security at this time in history is important
    Like (17)
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    Well... considering how our new president is running things, we probably need all the protection we can get. I feel like a sitting duck with him in office.
    Like (14)
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    That money is better used elsewhere. Education, for example. If we're trying to "make America great again," we should probably start by investing in our future, literally.
    Like (13)
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    Are you kidding? Hungry & homeless people exist here in our cities. How about programs that build affordable housing and provide jobs to people?
    Like (11)
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    There are far more important matters that need to be addressed first.
    Like (11)
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    Why does DHS exist, if they aren't already doing this?!!! Just what the heck are they securing the homeland against?!! Oh, I know, they've been told that the REAL threats are climate change and Bible-believing, gun-toting, heterosexual patriots! Let's get real and start securing the homeland against WMDs, EMPs, Islamic jihad, globalists and Democommies! How about THAT?!
    Like (8)
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    Get serious. This is so unimportant right now, another non-issue. Get busy on the real problems: healthcare, education, the economy, the illegal actions of the current "administration."
    Like (7)
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    Our attentions should be focused elsewhere like clean energy and the environment
    Like (6)
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    This is playing into fear mongering!
    Like (6)
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    Spending money on fear operations only produces more fear.
    Like (6)
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    Absolutely not. This would be a waste of money on something that virtually never happens. We have much greater priorities when it comes to public safety and security.
    Like (6)
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    If the DHS hasn't looked into WMD by now, why push it today? This certainly points out the failure of leadership. Could this mean more government control? My guess, cities will say "no" because of insufficient funds. Then the Feds will volunteer to pay if the city/state will yield control. Let's revisit this issue after the Trump Administration fully takes of our weak government.
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