Swalwell Initiatives Included in Bipartisan Intelligence Authorization Act Passed by Committee
WASHINGTON, DC – Today the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence passed the Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) for Fiscal Year 2017 which included several provisions championed by Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15): a bipartisan effort he led to track foreign fighters traveling to terrorist safe havens, an examination of how intelligence agencies help their workers manage student loan debt, and an effort to leverage the great talent found at our national laboratories.
The bill language to track foreign fighters is identical to the bipartisan Tracking Foreign Fighters in Terrorist Safe Havens Act (H.R. 4239) introduced in December by Swalwell and Rep. Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02). It would require the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to report every six months to appropriate congressional committees on the flow of foreign fighters to and from terrorist safe havens abroad, including such fighters’ numbers and countries of origin. The House approved this bill unanimously on Dec. 16.
“We can’t keep Americans safe from foreign threats like ISIL unless we know more about those threats, including how many are fighting or training to fight with the intention of coming here,” said Swalwell, who is the House Intelligence CIA Subcommittee’s ranking Democrat. “Knowing more about these could-be terrorists’ movements helps us plan to foil their plots.”
The IAA and accompanying committee report also include Swalwell’s language directing the DNI to provide Congress with a report on programs that help intelligence community workers manage their student loan debt.
This report would include details about each intelligence agency’s programs on loan forgiveness, repayment and financial counseling, as well as information on each agency’s efforts to advise current and prospective workers of these programs. The report also would weigh the pros and cons of creating such programs where they do not already exist, or of expanding such programs.
“The soaring cost of college and post-graduate education is causing many young people to rethink the careers they will pursue, in some cases drawing them away from public service to positions with more competitive pay or loan forgiveness benefits,” Swalwell said. “We must continue to recruit and retain the best and brightest to our intelligence agencies, and providing competitive career packages is an effective way to deepen the talent pool.”
Finally, the IAA and accompanying committee report include Swalwell’s call for a report from the Departments of Homeland Security and Energy on the current utilization of expertise at our national laboratories and on opportunities for expansion. Swalwell represents two Department of Energy National Laboratories, Lawrence Livermore and Sandia.
“Just as we must train and retain the best and brightest to the intelligence community, we must also continue to leverage the great talent found at our national labs,” Swalwell said.