Washington, D.C. – The House Judiciary Committee today approved a bill by voice vote to reauthorize and reform the United States Secret Service. The United States Secret Service Reauthorization Act of 2017 (H.R. 2605)—authored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), and Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas)—provides the agency the tools it needs for its critical mission of protecting the President, other protectees, and the White House complex. It also enhances Secret Service agents’ training and improves transparency and accountability at the agency.
Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Conyers, Crime Subcommittee Chairman Gowdy, and Crime Subcommittee Ranking Member Jackson Lee issued the statements below on today’s Committee approval of the Secret Service Reauthorization Act.
Chairman Goodlatte: “The House Judiciary Committee today took action to provide many resources the Secret Service needs to successfully carry out its critical mission. The Secret Service is comprised of many outstanding and upstanding men and women who do excellent work every day. However, the Secret Service has faced a number of challenges in recent years. Newly-appointed Secret Service Director Alles is bringing the leadership and experience needed to reform the agency, but it is also clear that statutory changes are needed to improve the agency and deliver necessary resources.
“The Secret Service Reauthorization Act provides a number of critical tools to ensure the Secret Service has the resources needed to keep the President and other protectees safe from harm. It also enhances agents’ training at the Secret Service in order to meet the growing demands placed on the agency.”
Ranking Member Conyers: “The Secret Service performs a critical, zero-fail mission. In response to security lapses in recent years, I join in introducing this important bill to assist the Secret Service improve with respect to leadership, management, training, modern technology, and resources. I know that the dedicated agents and other personnel of the Secret Service take their responsibilities, including protection and investigations, very seriously. In advancing this legislation, we hope to enable them to perform up to the highest standards.”
Crime Subcommittee Chairman Gowdy: “The men and women of the Secret Service put their lives on the line to serve and protect our President and other protectees each and every day. But in recent years, it has become evident the agency is in need of reform. The Secret Service Reauthorization Act will improve transparency and accountability within the agency while ensuring agents have the resources they need to serve and protect at the highest level.”
Crime Subcommittee Ranking Member Jackson Lee: “The Secret Service performs an essential role in our system of government by securing the safety of the President. Especially in these times, it is critical that it has the resources, training and material necessary to ensure it can accomplish its critical functions. I am pleased to cosponsor the United States Secret Service Reauthorization Act of 2017, a bill designed to help maintain the highest standards of performance for one of the premier law enforcement agencies in the world.”
Key Components of the Secret Service Reauthorization Act of 2017
- Clarifies that it is a federal crime to knowingly cause, with the intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, any object to enter restricted buildings or grounds, including the White House and the Vice President’s residence.
- Permits Secret Service agents to protect presidential candidates at polling places.
- Requires the Secret Service to evaluate the use of additional weaponry, including non-lethal weapons.
- Amends current law to permit the Secret Service to investigate threats against former Vice Presidents.
- Requires the Secret Service to devise and implement procedures for evaluating threats to the White House and its protectees, including threats from drones and explosives, and to report to Congress its findings.
- Requires the Secret Service to evaluate its technology at the White House, including ways that technology can be used to improve safety at the White House.
- Requires the Secret Service to evaluate how it retains evidence and to report its findings to Congress.
- Amends the Presidential Protection Assistance Act of 1976 by enabling the Secret Service to make necessary security upgrades to secondary residences by eliminating the $200,000 cumulative cap previously imposed on spending to secure a protectee’s secondary residences, and requires notification to the Committees on Appropriations of any security enhancements made to secondary residences in lieu of a bicameral resolution.
Enhances Agents’ Training
- Directs the Secret Service to increase the number of hours spent training, and directs it to provide joint training between Uniformed Division officers and Special Agents.
Improves Transparency and Accountability
- Requires the Director of the U.S. Secret Service to be Senate confirmed.
- Contains a Sense of Congress that determinations by the Department of Homeland Security or the Secret Service regarding changes to the White House itself for protection reasons should be given significant deference with the many entities that have a role in approving such changes, including the National Capital Planning Commission and the Commission of Fine Arts.
For more on today’s markup, click here.