Freshman U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla., who sits on the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee, scored another win in his efforts to reform the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) this week as the U.S. House passed a reform measure from him without opposition.
The House passed Rutherford’s “Streamlining DHS Overhead Act” on Tuesday. Rutherford’s bill ensures DHS consolidates leases and real estate costs when appropriate to reduce spending. The First Coast Republican noted that DHS, currently the third largest federal department, spends $2 billion annually on more than 100 million square feet of space to house more than 20 federal entities. Noting the continued growth of the department, Rutherford insisted tens of millions of taxpayer dollars could be saved with his proposed reforms.
“The passage of H.R. 2190 will allow the Department of Homeland Security to improve its operations, increase its accountability, and promote efficiencies to better employ its resources,” Rutherford said on Wednesday. “DHS’s properties represent billions of dollars in spending, but its leadership has continued to struggle with asset integration and management. H.R. 2190 will ensure taxpayer dollars are not wasted, while allowing DHS to better focus on its mission of securing the homeland. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for supporting this important piece of legislation and look forward to seeing further improvements at DHS.”
The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate where there is currently no version of Rutherford’s bill.
Rutherford had U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, as a co-sponsor of the bill. This is not the first time Rutherford and McCaul have teamed up to reform the DHS. Rutherford teamed up with McCaul in March to unveil the “Reducing Department of Homeland Security Acquisition Cost Growth Act.” According to Rutherford’s office, this legislation would “hold DHS agencies more accountable in administering their major acquisition programs and would give Congress greater oversight of troubled programs to prevent wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars by agencies like the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).” The House passed the bill without opposition towards the end of March.
During his first five months in Congress, Rutherford, a career law enforcement office who served three terms as sheriff of Duval County, has taken a large role on homeland security issues, including being appointed by McCaul onto the newly formed Task Force on Denying Terrorists Entry into the United States.