House committee approves bill that seeks transparency from national bureau

Congressman Steve Knight answers questions from constituents during a town hall at Canyon High School on Thursday, June 1, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Looking for more transparency from the National Background Investigations Bureau, new legislation would require a quarterly report from the bureau regarding investigation backlogs.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee members pushed forward Congressman Steve Knight’s H.R. 3210, known as the Securely Expediting Clearances through Reporting Transparency Act on Wednesday.

“Bureaucratic processes are hindering government agencies and employees from doing critical work on behalf of our national defense because of these investigation backlogs,” Congressman Steve Knight said in a statement.

These reports would note the size and length of time of the investigation process backlog, would be separated by clearance level and would specify whether it was periodic.

“This bill brings more government transparency and represents a critical step in Congress holding those accountable for this unacceptable backlog,” Knight (R-Palmdale) said.

The legislation is a response to 25th congressional district defense employer and employee conversations, according to Knight’s office.

“We must proactively address challenges that could hinder our modernization and security as a nation,” Knight said.

National Background Investigations Bureau’s job is to streamline security clearance and the investigation process, said Congressman Gerald Connolly (D-Virginia), who cosponsored the legislation and is on the committee that passed the bill.

“In order to ensure that the new bureau can successfully distinguish itself from (the Office of Personnel Management’s) past failures, it must work to reduce the backlog of background investigations and the length of time it takes to complete each investigation,” Congressman Gerald Connolly said in a statement.

H.R. 3210 will provide transparency, accountability and timeliness in the bureau, according to Connolly.

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