Senate Homeland Security Bill Includes Thompson Lanuage on National Labs
WASHINGTON ? U.S. Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) today announced that the Senate Homeland Security bill includes language crafted by Senators Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Thompson to allow the new Department of Homeland Security to benefit from the capabilities of the Department of Energy national laboratories, including the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
"The national laboratories are one of our most valuable assets," Senator Thompson said. "They have much to contribute to the goal of homeland security, and the new Department will benefit greatly from the capabilities and expertise that they possess.
The language proposed will allow the Department of Homeland Security to enter into joint sponsorship arrangements with the national laboratories in order to support homeland security research and development. Under these joint sponsorship arrangements, the Secretary of Homeland Security will be able to directly fund and manage work performed by the labs on behalf of the new Department.
"This will help to ensure that we are applying the best minds we have to the problem that we face: how best to protect our country and provide for the security of our people," Thompson said.
The language proposed by Senators Thompson and Domenici would:
establish within the new Department an Office for National Laboratories, which will be responsible for the coordination and utilization of the Department of Energy national laboratories in a manner to create a networked laboratory system in support of the Department's missions;
allow the Department of Homeland Security to enter into joint sponsorship arrangements with one or more national laboratories in order to support homeland security research and development; and
permit the Department of Homeland Security to directly fund and manage work carried out on its behalf by a national laboratory under a joint sponsorship arrangement.
"This language will give the new Department access to all of the national laboratories on an equal basis," Thompson said. "It does not set up a ?lead laboratory' but instead creates a level playing field for all the labs."
The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, on which Thompson serves as the Ranking Republican, will mark up the Homeland Security measure today. It will then be considered on the Senate floor as a Committee amendment to S. 2452, legislation which was previously reported by the Governmental Affairs Committee and is now pending on the Senate calendar. It is expected to be considered by the full Senate next week.
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