Tester’s SCARE Act clears major hurdle

Bill to reform nation’s security clearance process unanimously passes out of Homeland Security Committee

(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester’s bill to reform the nation’s broken security clearance process cleared its first major hurdle today and can now be debated on the Senate Floor.

Tester’s bill, the Security Clearance Accountability, Reform, and Enhancement (SCARE) Act, unanimously passed out of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. The SCARE Act prohibits federal contractors and employees who have compromised the integrity of a background investigation from performing future background investigations.

“Today folks from both sides of the aisle agreed that our background investigation process must be strengthened.” Tester said. “This bill improves national security by holding the folks who have violated the public’s trust accountable and taking a fresh look at who needs a security clearance. I look forward to gaining more bipartisan support for this bill as it heads to the Senate Floor.”

Noting that approximately 4.5 million Americans have a security clearance, Tester’s SCARE Act also forces the federal government to update policies determining which positions and contracts require a security clearance.

Tester, a senior member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, first introduced the SCARE Act and the Preventing Conflicts of Interests with Contractors Act last Congress after the high-profile cases of Edward Snowden and Aaron Alexis revealed serious lapses in the screening process.

Tester’s legislation also addresses U.S. Department of Justice allegations that USIS, a former government contractor, approved its own incomplete investigations in order to receive payment and bonuses from the federal government.

Last Congress, Tester’s bill that brought greater transparency into the background investigation process for security clearances, was signed into law.

Tester’s bipartisan SCARE Act is available online HERE.