The following information is from the office of U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell--
U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell (CA-15) introduced H.R. 3438, the National Laboratories Mean National Security Act, to ensure the full resources of Department of Energy (DOE) labs like Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National Laboratories are clearly available to help states and localities secure our country.
The government-owned, contractor-operated structure of the national labs has caused some state and local recipients of federal homeland security grants to decline to utilize DOE labs because of a mistaken belief that these funds would be paid impermissibly to the federal government as opposed to contract operators.
“Lawrence Livermore, Sandia and our other DOE national laboratories are world-class scientific research and development institutions with expertise relevant to addressing our homeland security challenges,” said Swalwell. “States and localities should feel free to utilize these capabilities, but the unique structure of these labs means they aren’t always being used fully.
"It’s in our homeland security interest to remove this existing barrier and clearly establish in statute that national labs can work with recipients of key federal homeland security initiatives and grants.”
The research, expertise and knowledge of DOE labs are all directly relevant to addressing how to prevent and respond to attacks involving the worst threats, such as chemical, biological, and radiological weapons.
Swalwell was joined on the bipartisan bill by U.S. Reps. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA) and Bill Foster (D-IL). A similar bill passed the House of Representatives by voice vote in the 112th Congress but was not taken up by the Senate.
“We can’t let a lack of clarity prevent states and localities from consulting with the best and brightest at our national labs on issues as critical as our homeland security. This is commonsense legislation that would provide a boost to the safety of our communities,” Swalwell added.