Restoring the trust that the American people must have in the vital tasks the Secret Service carries out every day is critical. The Secret Service has two primary missions: criminal investigations and protection of the President, Vice-President, and other dignitaries. As a result, the agency is entrusted with protecting some of our most valuable assets as a nation. This is an extremely difficult, high-profile mission, for which there is no margin for error.
The Secret Service is comprised of many upstanding men and women who do excellent work. However, over the last few years a series of embarrassing scandals, security failures, and instances of poor judgment have rocked the agency. Following these incidents, President Obama appointed a new Director of the Secret Service, Joseph Clancy, and also appointed a panel of experts to recommend changes to the Secret Service.
Through the Judiciary Committee’s oversight and the recommendations of the Panel, it is clear that, despite the new Director’s initiatives, legislative action is still necessary to restore the Secret Service as a first-rate agency. To help provide the Secret Service additional tools in its effort to make much-needed changes, earlier this year I introduced the Secret Service Improvements Act. This bipartisan legislation recently passed the House of Representativesby a strong vote of 365-16. It strengthens the security of the President and the White House complex, enhances agents’ training, and improves transparency and accountability at the agency. It also requires Senate confirmation of the Director of the Secret Service.
The culture at the Secret Service needs to change. While thousands of agents do their job each day to ensure safety and deliver justice, a few bad actors have tarnished the reputation of the entire agency. The House has done its part to move forward important reforms for the Secret Service. It’s now important that the Senate act. Collectively, the resources and changes found in the Secret Service Reform Act will help advance important reforms and restore the Secret Service as a sterling law enforcement agency.
Bob Goodlatte represents the Sixth District of Virginia in Congress.