Congress sends bill renewing anti-terrorism program to Trump

Congress sends bill renewing anti-terrorism program to Trump
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Congress sent legislation to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump quietly rolled back programs to detect, combat weapons of mass destruction: report Amash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen MORE on Thursday that would reauthorize a program setting standards on protecting manufacturers and other chemical facilities from terror attacks.

The program is set to sunset on Thursday, meaning Trump will have to sign it into law quickly in order to prevent it from lapsing.

The Senate approved an amended version of the bill to reauthorize the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program for 15 months on Wednesday evening, and the House passed it by voice vote Thursday.


The House had initially passed a bill earlier this month reauthorizing the standards for two years. But Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonMystery surrounds elusive sanctions on Russia Trump may intervene in Pentagon cloud-computing contract: report Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers struggle to understand Facebook's Libra project | EU hits Amazon with antitrust probe | New cybersecurity concerns over census | Robocall, election security bills head to House floor | Privacy questions over FaceApp MORE (R-Wis.) had rejected that version of the bill, saying that he would only accept a short-term extension. Johnson sought broader reforms to the program.

On Wednesday, he agreed to a 15-month reauthorization of the program, after negotiations with the committee’s ranking member Sen. Gary PetersGary Charles PetersAlarm sounds over census cybersecurity concerns Trump's pick to lead Pentagon glides through confirmation hearing Overnight Defense: Highlights from Defense pick's confirmation hearing | Esper spars with Warren over ethics | Sidesteps questions on Mattis vs. Trump | Trump says he won't sell F-35s to Turkey MORE (D-Mich.).

Johnson has authored legislation that would make changes to the Department of Homeland Security program, which applies to facilities that handle certain chemicals.

Industry groups, as well as Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTrump quietly rolled back programs to detect, combat weapons of mass destruction: report Trump's family separation policy has taken US to 'lowest depth possible,' says former immigration lawyer Four heated moments from House hearing on conditions at border facilities MORE, had advocated for a clean renewal of the program without any reforms as it approached its authorization deadline, to stop it from lapsing.

Several of those groups issued statements Thursday applauding the bill’s passage and urging Trump to quickly sign the measure.

“The continuity of this program without interruption is critical for industry and national security because it ensures manufacturers can confidently make appropriate, economically justifiable, long-term investments to protect high-risk facilities,” Laura Berkey-Ames, the director of energy and resources policy for the National Association of Manufacturers, said in a statement.

American Chemistry Council President and CEO Cal Dooley said the bill “will give Congress time to work on bolstering CFATS and provide the regulatory certainty needed to support the industry’s ongoing efforts to safeguard chemical facilities and communities.”

And Eric Byer, the president of the National Association of Chemical Distributors, said that continuing CFATS “ensures the chemical industry and regulators work together to keep our nation’s chemical facilities secured against potential terrorist attacks.”