March 19, 2015

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of Homeland Security, questioned Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy at a subcommittee hearing on how the Secret Service can improve its operations following several recent, high profile lapses in security. Shaheen noted that in addition to operational adjustments, there must be a change in the culture at the Secret Service which many view as “broken.”

Shaheen’s remarks as prepared for delivery are included below:

March 19, 2015

Senator Shaheen Opening Remarks

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of Homeland Security

Thank you Mr. Chairman.  I enjoyed working with you on the Legislative Branch Subcommittee and I look forward to the new challenges we will face on Homeland Security.

This is our first budget hearing for FY 2016 and the first time in over a decade that the Senate Appropriations Committee has held a hearing with the Secret Service specifically on its budget.

The Secret Service performs two vital functions – protecting the President and other authorized individuals, while also protecting the integrity of U.S. currency and investigating crimes against the national financial system.

The FY2016 budget request totals more than $1.94 billion - $273 million more than we appropriated in FY 2015.  This increase is on top of additional funding we provided in the recently enacted FY 2015 appropriation to address vulnerabilities identified after several security breaches at the White House. 

Based on recent events, it is also obvious that the Secret Service needs to address a number of operational vulnerabilities.  Some of these issues, such as perimeter security and enhanced fencing, can be fixed with additional funding.  But other issues are more intangible.  Money cannot fix a culture that, in the eyes of the public and many in Congress, is broken.  

Director Clancy, if the Secret Service is going to fix its many problems and rebuild the trust of the American people, it’s not just going to require your leadership. 

It’s also going to require the men and women of the Secret Service to take individual responsibility for their actions, and to be accountable to the American people.  

Director Clancy, I appreciate your forthrightness in bringing some of these issues to our attention.  You have been appointed by the President to “right a listing ship.”  Time is of the essence in addressing these problems – you do not have the luxury of waiting to find the perfect solution.

I look forward to assisting you.  The importance of your mission cannot be overstated, and failure cannot be countenanced.   In the face of a determined enemy, the Secret Service must remain ever-vigilant.