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Homeland Security

Congressman Bilirakis sought a seat on the Homeland Security Committee shortly after his election to Congress because few issues are as important as defending America’s citizens from those who want to hurt them.

In December 2010, Gus was named Chairman of the critical Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications Subcommittee. As Chairman, Bilirakis' position is vital to the state of Florida, as he oversees FEMA, emergency grant programs, communication during emergency situations, and disaster response and recovery efforts.

In March 2011, Gus introduced the Student Visa Security Improvement Act, which will improve the background checks conducted on student visa applicants from high-risk areas and enhance America's ability to ensure that foreign students are abiding by the terms of their visas once in the U.S. He has also introduced the Metropolitan Medical Response System Program Act of 2011, H.R. 1411, to assist state and local governments in preparing for and responding to mass casualty incidents resulting from acts of terrorism, natural disasters, and other emergencies.

During the 111th Congress, Gus served as Ranking Member (Lead Republican) on the important Subcommittee on Management, Investigations and Oversight. In this role he was his party's top congressional watchdog over the Department of Homeland Security. He also served on the Border, Maritime, and Global Counterterrorism Subcommittee.

The Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act, which the President has signed into law, includes two proposals sponsored by Congressman Bilirakis. First, ensuring that rail and mass transit security coordinators are American citizens and requiring the real-world testing of rail tank cars carrying hazardous materials to determine the way to best protect them from attack.  


He also has introduced legislation that will help the Coast Guard determine the identity of interdicted aliens so that they are not simply released to continue their illegal and dangerous behavior and ensure that terrorists do not slip through cracks in our border defenses.

Gus also introduced a resolution, which the House approved unanimously, which encourages increased maritime domain awareness and highlights a program called America’s Waterway Watch, which serves like a neighborhood watch program for the water.

Gus has championed the most important issue to Florida’s port community: ensuring that maritime workers are only required to have a single port access identification card with the most stringent standards possible.

He also has been a vocal proponent of strengthening the student visa process and has questioned the Homeland Security Secretary about the need to keep better track of foreign students. Gus secured invitations to testify before Congress for Richard Wainio, Director of the Tampa Port Authority, Craig Fugate, the Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, and Bill Janes, the Director of the Florida Office of Drug Control, on issues of importance to all Floridians.

More on Homeland Security

July 20, 2017 Press Release
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Authorization Act, H.R. 2825, which includes a provision authored by U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) to boost countermeasures for first responders.
June 29, 2017 Press Release
U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) released the following statement after Kate’s Law (H.R. 3004) and the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act (H.R. 3003) passed the House of Representatives.
December 2, 2016 Press Release
The U.S. House of Representatives today passed critical legislation to strengthen the country’s military and defense, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Representative Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Vice-Chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, worked closely on this legislation and strongly supported its passage.
November 15, 2016 Press Release
Today, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) supported legislation in the U.S. House to extend sanctions on Iran’s energy industry and illicit weapons programs. The Iran Sanctions Extension Act (H.R. 6297) passed the House by a vote of 419-1.
July 28, 2016 Bilirakis Blog

Now more than ever before, we need to work together to ensure the safety, security and long term success of our nation. I am proud to join my colleagues in the House in an effort to prioritize the things that truly matter. We are tackling the issues together to keep us safe, boost our economy, reform our health care, improve our tax code, fight poverty, and get back to our founding fathers’ vision.

March 22, 2016 Press Release

The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday evening advanced legislation to improve public alerts and warning systems based on legislation Congressman Bilirakis introduced several years ago.

The House approved the Integrated Public Alert Warning System (or IPAWS) Modernization Act to provide authorization to update our communications infrastructure. This legislation will help disseminate important information and alerts instantaneously over cell phones, text messaging, the Internet, and broadcasting. 

February 23, 2016 Press Release

Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) released the following statement regarding the President’s plan to close Guantanamo Bay:

January 12, 2016 Press Release

Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) released the following statement following the President’s State of the Union Address:

“The President, once again, delivered his laundry list of empty goals and failed policies during his final address to the American people tonight.

While he may be content with the path he has paved, I remain dedicated to leading our nation down a solid road with a brighter, more prosperous future.

December 18, 2015 Press Release

On Thursday, the House advanced H.R. 2029, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act. This legislation makes permanent over 20 tax relief provisions and extends a number of other tax relief provisions that expired in 2014.

“This legislation delivers certainty to taxpayers in my district and across the country,” said Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL). “This bill prevents tax increases which would have been harmful to our economy and will help strengthen the integrity of tax credit programs to prevent fraud and abuse. This bill is a win for taxpayers.”