GOP House bills target TSA

GOP House bills target TSA
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A pair of Republican House bills is aimed at improving the Transportation Secretary Administration’s (TSA) response to airport emergencies and its investigations of potential criminal threats. 

The measures, sponsored by freshman Rep. John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoHouse passes bill to fund overtime pay for Secret Service agents Poll: Voters in vulnerable GOP districts oppose tax bill FCC's net neutrality repeal sparks backlash MORE (R-N.Y.), are “designed to enhance airport security measures in a cost-effective manner,” according to the New York lawmaker’s office. 

Katko said the emergency response measure was filed in response to a 2013 shooting at the Los Angeles International Airport that resulted in the first on-duty fatality of a TSA employee. 

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“Threats to our nation’s transportation systems are constantly evolving, and it is critical that Congress act to preempt catastrophes at our nation’s airports by strengthening security protocols in the most cost-effective manner possible,” he said.  “My subcommittee hearing [last] week stemmed from security breaches in which loaded firearms were brought onto commercial airplanes by employees with airport access privileges.  In light of that hearing, these bills provide a thoughtful response to create safer airports across our country by improving upon nationwide security protocols and facilitating commonsense TSA reform to save taxpayer dollars.”

Katko’s first measure, H.R. 719, is known as the TSA Office of Inspection Accountability Act. The measure would require TSA agents to “spend at least 50 percent of their time investigating, apprehending, or detaining individuals suspected of committing a crime,” according to Katko’s office.

The second measure, H.R. 720, is known as the Gerardo Hernandez Airport Security Act in honor of the deceased LAX worker. The measure “directs the Department of Homeland Security to undertake a variety of activities to enhance security and communication at domestic airports, specifically requiring TSA to verify that all airports have appropriate security response plans,” Katko’s office said.