As a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management, Bill’s responsibilities include:
conducting investigations and general oversight of homeland security programs;
oversight over management, financial, information technology and procurement functions within the Department of Homeland Security and its component agencies;
oversight over the Department’s Privacy Office and Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties;
workforce issues; and
the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act at the Department.
Bill’s signature issue on the committee is strengthening aviation security, especially vulnerabilities in perimeter and tarmac security. One of his final cases as Norfolk County District Attorney was to oversee the investigation into the 2010 death of sixteen-year-old Delvonte Tisdale, who had stowed away in the wheel well of a Boston-bound flight from Charlotte. Tisdale's death sparked a great debate about the security of our airports – one that Bill has continued in Congress.
Bill began to advocate for more effective security for our nation’s airports. On February 10, 2011, Bill questioned the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, about any changes TSA had made to protect tarmacs in light of the Tisdale case. After describing the case’s details to Secretary Napolitano, Bill pointed out how destructive it would have been had someone with overtly nefarious motives been able to stowaway. Bill continued the questioning on March 3, 2011, when the Secretary was again before the Committee.
Bill has likened the current situation where we have extensive screenings of passengers but unsecure tarmacs to locking all the doors on your house but leaving the windows open. Further, he has pointed out that Charlotte airport's failure to secure its tarmac actually transcends just that one airport and instead, puts every airport receiving planes from there at risk.
Since shedding light on this dangerous situation, Bill has been working closely with the Transportation Security Administration to address perimeter and airport security so that all American can travel safely.