WASHINGTON – Several new bills aimed at reducing the threat of terrorism, including one that would set a new national terrorism-prevention strategy, are one step closer to becoming law.
The House Committee on Homeland Security voted Tuesday to push eight measures to the House floor.
These bills serve as a road map to prevent terrorists from carrying out attacks in the U.S., Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the committee’s senior Democrat, said.
“This committee will not stand on the sidelines while the terror threat surges,” committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said. “I have no doubt these new measures will result in the interception of terror suspects and will keep dangerous individuals from reaching our country.”
H.R. 4408, introduced by Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., and a legislative product of the bipartisan Foreign Fighter Task Force, would require President Barack Obama to send Congress a national strategy to combat travel by terrorists and a plan to put it into effect.
The task force was established last year in response to extremist terrorist threats and includes five Republicans and three Democrats. It is designed to identify security gaps to protect the American people.
“Today in Syria and Iraq, we are witnessing the largest convergence of Islamist terrorists in history,” Katko said. “Reports indicate more than 35,000 individuals from 120-plus countries have traveled there to join the movement.”
Many are from the United States and other Western countries, Katko said.
A report last year from the Homeland Security Committee concluded the U.S. is losing the fight to stop Americans from traveling overseas to join jihadists. Several dozen have also managed to make it back into America, according to the report.
All measures were passed unanimously. Assuming the House passes the bills, they will go to the Senate.
“I have stated before, we are at war,” McCaul said. “Our own streets have become the front lines, which is why I urge my colleagues to act decisively on the legislation before us.”
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