We look forward to working with our colleagues to pass this bill and to help us shine more light on our failing security clearance process.
Getting the agency watchdogs examining the processes is an important first step, but we must ask bigger questions as well. Do 5 million Americans need security clearances? How do we balance the need to thoroughly and efficiently clear qualified applicants with the need to keep our nation safe? And how do we improve the security clearance process at a time when we must get the most out of every taxpayer dollar?
Our subcommittee will look into these questions at our next hearing. In the meantime, we owe it to the Navy Yard victims to take timely and meaningful steps to prevent the next tragedy and do everything we can to reform a process that in many cases is failing to keep Americans safe.
Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, are the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Federal Programs and the Federal Workforce.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.