The House on Thursday passed the first-ever reauthorization of the Department of Homeland Security, which was created as a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
"Today, Congress ensured that the Department of Homeland Security has the resources it needs to keep terrorists, traffickers, and smugglers out of the United States," Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said in a statement after the vote.
If the bill from House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul becomes law, it will be the first time Congress has had a chance to tweak the department's mission since it was formed in 2002. It's a process that started just before President Trump was sworn into office, and one that was supported by DHS Secretary John Kelly.
"The threats and challenges have changed since Congress created DHS some 15 years ago. We need to update the authorities to successfully complete our mission today," Kelly said in a Feb. 7 statement before McCaul's committee.
The 575-page bill streamlines and consolidates DHS agencies; creates processes to make the 229,000-person department more accountable on the cost and efficiency of programs; provides additional resources for front-line defenders and first responders; and strengthens U.S. security through various procedures.
DHS, which operated in fiscal year 2017 on a $40.6 billion budget, will no longer be able to reorganize without congressional approval. From U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to Federal Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Secret Service to the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, changes will have to go through Capitol Hill lawmakers.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office would also be authorized for the first time under the bill that relate to GOP priorities on border security.
For example, it would establish Operation Stonegarden, a program that would allow the administrator to "make grants to eligible law enforcement agencies ... to enhance border security." Funds would not be allowed to go toward equipment, the maintenance of equipment or personnel.
Another section of the bill would let the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection request additional canine teams to help with drug detection at the border.
Also notable is section 1507 of the bill, which calls on the Transportation Security Administration to create a plan and timeline to reduce the number of senior executive positions by 20 percent by mid 2019.
House passage sends the bill to the Senate, but it's not clear when the Senate might get to the bill.