REP. JOHN KATKO SPEAKS ON THE FLOOR OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN SUPPORT OF THE VISA WAIVER PROGRAM IMPROVEMENT ACT
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative John Katko (NY-24) this evening spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in support of H.R. 158, the Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act of 2015, bipartisan legislation which overwhelmingly passed the House by a 407-19 margin.
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) Improvement Act includes significant recommendations from the Task Force on Combating Foreign Fighter Travel, which Rep. Katko chaired. This legislation makes security improvements to the Visa Waiver Program’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) form, supports the use of e-passports and other biometric data, and calls for a regular review of the program. By including these measures, H.R. 158 will dramatically improve the amount of accurate information used to vet individuals who come to the United States without a visa for 90 days. Video of Rep. Katko’s remarks can be found here.
Representative Katko’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, can be found below:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 158, the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015.
“This bill, which I cosponsored, will close a critical gap in our nation’s border security that is vulnerable to exploitation by terrorists and other nefarious actors seeking to do us harm.
“This bill does not seek to eliminate the VWP, but strengthens the security of the program by requiring participating nations to increase counterterrorism information sharing, screen travelers against INTERPOL’s databases and enhance passport security features.
“As Chair of the Committee on Homeland Security’s Foreign Fighter Task Force, I spent countless hours examining weaknesses in our nation’s defenses against the threat posed by foreign fighters.
“The provisions in this bill address several of the key findings in our report, and I thank Mrs. Miller for her leadership on this important issue. I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation, and yield back the balance of my time.”
Upon the passage of the bill, Representative Katko stated, “This bill, which passed the House in a bipartisan manner, includes several of the recommendations that were outlined in the Task Force on Combating Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel Report. Having led this task force, I am pleased to see these recommendations being considered by Congress. I congratulate Chairwoman Miller the passage of this legislation, and for the bipartisan efforts of the entire Committee to improve our national security.”
Congressman John Katko serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security, where he chairs the Subcommittee on Transportation Security. He represents the 24th Congressional District, which includes all of Onondaga, Cayuga, and Wayne Counties and a portion ofOswego County. For more information, please visit https://katko.house.gov or www.facebook.com/RepJohnKatko.