House Passes Knight-Connolly SECRET Act
Today, the House passed unanimously the SECRET Act, legislation introduced by Representatives Steve Knight (R-CA) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA), which will help reduce the current security background check backlog. The legislation requires a quarterly report on the size of the security clearance investigation backlog and the average length of time it takes to carry out security clearance investigations. The information gathered on the average time for investigations to be completed will be separated by clearance level and whether it is a new or periodic investigation.
"Thousands of jobs are open because of the security clearance backlogs. We need to reduce this backlog," said Connolly. "We want them to be thorough, but frankly, we want our national security to be addressed at full throttle and that means full employment in these jobs."
"We all recognize the criticality of classified background checks to make sure people trusted with our nation’s secrets are, in fact, properly checked and vetted, but on the other hand, backlogs hurt our national security. Expediting the background check process, accelerating reporting on the backlog, is important for intelligence, homeland security and defense work."
“Too many of our skilled workers are being set aside by government agencies in other jobs because of these backlogs that affect their ability to work,” said Rep. Steve Knight. “We should not be punishing those who are skilled and willingly choosing to serve their country in national security positions because of bureaucratic red tape. National security programs have always been at the center of California’s 25th district. This bill comes directly from the concerns of constituents in my district as they struggle to keep these jobs secured. In order to protect our nation and the job opportunities it provides to secure those protections, we need to fight for a better and more transparent system to get rid of these overriding backlogs.”
Connolly's floor remarks can be seen here.