Dent Says NO to Redundant CFATS Background Check

05/27/2014

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, working with the Subcommittee’s Chairman, Rep. John Carter (R-TX), and with the approval of the House authorizing committees, succeeded in adding a funding restriction to the House version of the FY 2015 Homeland Security draft appropriations bill that would preclude DHS from forcing CFATS facilities to use any one vetting program, including the department’s proposed Personnel Surety Program (PSP), as long as the facility used a Federal screening program that vets against the terrorist screening database (TSDB).  Congress established CFATS as a risk-based program under which the department could not dictate the measures a facility would use to meet any of the prescribed standards.  Many individuals who need access to CFATS facilities are already vetted against the TSDB by background check programs that are equivalent or better than the PSP, including ATF’s background check of explosive processers and responsible persons.  The PSP is the one standard that does not conform to the letter and spirit of the law. The PSP proposal is pending at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and is one step from being finalized.  The addition of the language should send a message to OMB at this critical time that the proposed PSP policy is not acceptable.  Similar language was included in HR 4007, legislation to authorize CFATS.  Congress will likely act on the appropriations bill first.  

SEC. 556. (a) None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to require a facility to employ or not employ a particular security measure for personnel surety if the facility has adopted personnel measures designed to—

(1) verify and validate an individual’s identification;

(2) check an individual’s criminal history;

(3) verify and validate an individual’s legal authorization to work; and

(4) identify individuals with terrorist ties.

(b) A facility may satisfy the criterion under subsection (a)(4) by utilizing any Federal screening program that periodically vets individuals against the terrorist screening database, or any successor to such database, including the Personnel Surety Program of the Department of Homeland Security.