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House of Representatives Passes Intelligence Authorization Act on Strong Bipartisan Vote

Washington, July 17, 2019

 Washington, DC – Today, U.S. House of Representatives passed, on a strong bipartisan basis, the Damon Paul Nelson and Matthew Young Pollard Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) for Fiscal Years 2018, 2019, and 2020, by a vote of 397 -  31. The bill authorizes funding and enables comprehensive congressional oversight of elements of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). The legislation is named in tribute to two dedicated staff members on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, Damon Nelson and Matt Pollard, who tragically passed away last year.

This year’s IAA authorizes funding for the Intelligence Community at roughly 1.4% above the President’s FY 2020 Budget Request. The combined bill for the fiscal years 2018, 2019, and 2020 includes provisions:

  • Prioritizing the IC’s collection and analytic capabilities against hard target countries, namely China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, while sustaining critical intelligence capabilities that support counterterrorism and counterproliferation efforts;
  • Adapting the IC to operate in a strategic environment of rapid technological change, while posturing it to better leverage commercial innovation;
  • Securing the IC itself, through provisions intended to insulate it from supply chain risks and to mitigate insider threats, among many other things; and
  • Reinforcing existing hiring pipelines, broadening engagement with nontraditional communities, and reducing barriers to onboarding, such as security clearance backlogs, to ensure the IC consistently recruits, hires, retains and promotes the most highly qualified, and most highly diverse possible workforce.

After passage, Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) made the following statements:

Chairman Adam Schiff stated:

“One of the most important duties that the House Intelligence Committee performs each year is ensuring that the Intelligence Community it oversees has the resources, authorities and proper oversight it needs to keep our nation safe. The Intelligence Authorization Act is the cornerstone of that commitment, and I’m proud to say that, once again, we’ve been able to pass it in the House with strong, bipartisan support.

“This year’s bill will improve the IC’s collection and analysis capabilities against hard targets, will help the IC adapt to operate in an environment of rapidly advancing technologies, and will foster a culture in the IC to ensure that we can recruit and retain a highly qualified and diverse workforce. I look forward to working with our Senate colleagues to reconcile the two bills, and send the final package to the President for his signature in the coming months.”

Ranking Member Nunes stated:

“The Intelligence Authorization Act is a crucial law to keep the Intelligence Community adequately funded and resourced while ensuring congressional oversight of the nation’s most sensitive intelligence programs. Simply put, this bill helps keep Americans safe by improving our ability to detect and thwart terrorist plots. I look forward to its swift enactment into law.”     

For information on previously passed Committee IAAs covering FY 18 and FY 19, please click here. For more information on provisions covering FY 20 IAA, please click here.