Cox calls for Homeland Security accountability

Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, intends to introduce legislation to give the new Homeland Security Department the same congressional scrutiny that every other federal agency gets.

At a press conference today, Cox said he would introduce legislation to hold DHS accountable for its goals and achievements, such as information sharing among federal, state and local authorities, cybersecurity and container cargo security.

His plan comes almost two weeks after the House Government Reform Committee approved legislation calling for the appointment of a chief financial officer for DHS.

Congress so far has exercised oversight authority in general ways. But Cox signaled that is about to change.

"Progress by the Department of Homeland Security shouldn't be determined arbitrarily or politicized," Cox said. "Progress should be gauged by a realistic set of measures that will lead to a stronger department and a more secure nation."

Cox said it is essential to make sure there is sufficient oversight over the largest reorganization of the federal government in a half century.

"It is very important that we make clear what Congress considered priorities and to establish deadlines, when necessary, for meeting those priorities," he said.

Cox intends to introduce the legislation early next year and move it swiftly through his committee. His committee is working with DHS to establish the milestones that would "accurately and fairly apply to every division of the department."

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