House votes to force Homeland Security to obtain a clean audit

"Fiscal year 2012, over nine years since the agency was created, was the first time the department was able to complete a financial audit and receive a qualified opinion on all five financial statements covering the entire department," House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Pete King (R-N.Y.) said on the floor.

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"Unfortunately, DHS has been unable to get an unqualified or clean opinion stating that there are no material weaknesses in its financial systems," he said. "Until such time as there is confidence in the DHS financial structure, questions will remain on how DHS accounts for taxpayer's money."

Republicans in particular have noted that DHS was hastily assembled from pieces of several existing federal agencies, and have worried about excessive and unchecked spending and expansion at the agency since then.

The bill would require DHS to take steps to ensure all its financial statements are consolidated and ready for a complete audit by next year. It also calls on DHS to keep Congress informed of its progress toward this goal.

In a separate voice-vote, members approved H.R. 3542, the No-Hassle Flying Act. This bill gives the Transportation Security Administration the authority to allow luggage from countries with adequate screening processes to be exempt from further screening once they enter the U.S. on the way to another U.S. destination.

The House also approved H.R. 5817, the Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act, by voice. This bill allows banks to only inform customers of their data privacy policies when those policies change, rather than every year.

The House was prepared to approve this bill earlier this year, but it was delayed in order to make minor amendments.

Finally, the House passed H.R. 6364, the Frank Buckles World War I Memorial Act, also by voice vote.

— This story was updated at 3:31 p.m.