A new memo from Mackenzie Eaglen and Laura Keith at the Heritage Foundation makes the case for the passage of a biennial homeland security authorization bill, and lays out the jurisdictional challenges associated with the passage of such legislation – challenges which have derailed such legislation to date, especially in the Senate where an authorization bill has never been brought up.
Eaglen and Keith offer four priorities for such legislation:
- Create an Under Secretary for Policy within DHS;
- Formalize professional training and education in homeland security;
- Reform the homeland security grant programs to better achieve national priorities;
- Enact comprehensive border security and immigration reform.
These first three items should undoubtedly be components of any future DHS authorization bill. However, I’d be reluctant to attach this fourth priority to such legislation, since it’s such a big issue in and of itself, and would crowd out all of the other issues within the bill. I think that border security and immigration reform will need to be addressed again in the 110th Congress, but not attached to this legislation.