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Legislative UpdatesLegislative Updates

107th Congress

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Homeland Security Act of 2002

P.L. 107-296 (H.R. 5005)

Impact of Public Law

P.L. 107-296, the Homeland Security Act, establishes a new Executive Branch agency known as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and consolidates the operations of 22 existing Federal agencies. Among its research provisions, the Act:

  • Establishes within the new Department a Directorate of Science and Technology, with an Under Secretary for Science and Technology, to conduct basic and applied research, development, demonstration, testing, and evaluation activities that are relevant to any or all elements of the Department, through intramural and extramural programs, with the exception of human health-related research and development activities
  • Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to set priorities, goals, objectives, and policies and to develop a coordinated strategy for these activities in collaboration with the Secretary of Homeland Security to ensure consistency with national policy and the strategic plan required under the Act
  • Authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to draw upon the expertise of any Federal laboratory, whether operated by a contractor or the Government, and to establish a headquarters laboratory and additional laboratory units for the Department at any laboratory or site
  • Requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish a university-based center or centers for homeland security within 1 year of the enactment of the Act

The Act also includes provisions regarding Federal agency information security protections; acquisitions and procurement improvements; permanent extension, revision, and expansion of authorities for use of voluntary separation incentive pay and voluntary early retirement; and other authorities relevant to human resources management.

Legislative History

In the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent release of anthrax spores in October, both the Administration and the Congress focused their attention on the need for a better coordinated approach to homeland security. As a result, an Administration proposal and three additional bills on this topic were introduced. Only one of these bills received final action.

On June 18, 2002, the President sent to Congress a proposal for a Department of Homeland Security. On June 24, Representative Richard K. Armey (R-TX) introduced the President's proposal to establish a Department of Homeland Security as H.R. 5005. The bill was referred to 12 committees of jurisdiction and reported out by each. Following considerable debate lasting more than 6 days, the House passed H.R. 5005, with amendments, by a vote of 295 to 132, on July 26, and sent the measure to the Senate on July 30. After a vote to delay consideration of the bill, the Senate began debate on H.R. 5005 on September 5 and continued through November 19, passing the measure with amendments on that day by a vote of 90 to 9. The House agreed to the Senate-amended bill on November 22, and the President signed H.R. 5005 on November 25 as P.L. 107-296.



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