Rep. Yvette D. Clarke’s FAST Redress Act Passes the U.S. House of Representatives
Rep. Yvette D. Clarke’s (D-NY) “Fair, Accurate, Secure and Timely Redress Act of 2009” (FAST Redress Act), was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 413-3 Tuesday evening.
Every day, thousands of innocent Americans are misidentified as terrorist suspects; causing them to be delayed, denied, or even detained when attempting to board an airplane; have access to their workplace, or interact with the government in any number of other ways. This occurs when a person’s name is similar to a name on the terrorist watch-list, a database that currently contains over 1.1 million entries.
H.R. 559, the FAST Redress Act, requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a redress process by creating a “comprehensive cleared list.” Any individual who feels they have been misidentified as a terrorist suspect may voluntarily provide the government with personal information, which can be used to determine that the person in question is not actually on the terrorist watch-list. That person is then added to the cleared list allowing them the freedom that Americans have come to expect.
“The homeland security community agrees on the importance of maintaining a comprehensive list of terrorist suspects in keeping America safe.” Rep. Clarke said. “However, there are flaws in the terrorist watch-list which have greatly harmed the civil liberties of countless innocent Americans who have been misidentified as terrorists and find themselves unable to work or travel. The FAST Redress Act bill addresses this issue head-on.”
This is the second time that the House has passed the FAST Redress Act, having previously approved it in 2008. However, the bill never made it through the Senate despite strong bipartisan support in that chamber.
“I am glad to see the House of Representatives is moving forward on this bill once again, demonstrating how strongly Congress takes this issue.” said Rep. Clarke.
The FAST Redress Act, which has been favorably reviewed by the New York Times, is also supported by the National Business Travel Association. It is cosponsored by both Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson and Ranking Member Peter King, and has seen support from an array of other members in both chambers of Congress. Senator Amy Klobuchar will soon be introducing a similar version of this bill in the Senate.
“It’s important for our government to have a watch list to find and capture suspected terrorists. But the watch list must be more up to date, more focused and more accurate if it’s going to be effective. When so many innocent Americans are being misidentified as possible terrorists, the government needs to do a better job.” said Sen. Klobuchar.
“I want to thank Chairman Thompson and Ranking Member King for their great bipartisan efforts to push the FAST Redress Act forward.” Rep. Clarke concluded. “Their support, along with that of Sen. Klobuchar, will be instrumental as we continue the fight to make this bill law. The FAST Redress Act is now in the Senate’s court to act and ensure that millions of people wrongly identified as terrorists have the ability to clear their names.”