A Democratic representative is introducing legislation to give Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners benefits that are similar to police officers and firefighters.
Rep. Julia BrownleyJulia Andrews BrownleyCongress can make progress on fighting emissions with Zero Food Waste Act House passes veterans contraception, LGBTQ business bills previously blocked by GOP Overnight Defense: Tucker Carlson comments cause military rage | Capitol guard duty questioned | Vet who served in Marine One unit charged in insurrection MORE (D-Calif.) said armed attacks at airport security checkpoints in Los Angeles and New Orleans in the last two years show the need for TSA workers to receive protections that are similar to other public safety employees.
"Transportation Security Officers are often the first line of defense against threats to our aviation, railways, ports, and transportation systems," she said in a statement.
“Our nation should provide fallen TSA officers and their families with the same benefits made available to the families of other federal law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, such as firefighters and police officers," Brownley continued. "It is the right thing to do.”
Brownley's legislation to give TSA workers identical benefits to police and firefighters was first introduced after a November 2013 Los Angeles airport shooting, which resulted in the death of one TSA agent and left two others wounded. The killing marked the first time a TSA agent had died in the line of duty.
In a separate incident in New Orleans in March 2015, two TSA employees were injured by a machete-wielding man who charged a security checkpoint at the airport before he was shot by police officers.
The union that represents TSA workers cheered the reintroduction of the measure to give airport security screeners benefits that match police and firefighters.
“Incidents like those in Los Angeles and New Orleans should never happen again, but if they do, their families deserve the same benefits as any other officer who gives it all defending their communities,” American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) President J. David Cox Sr. said in a statement.
In the past opponents have criticized TSA workers for wearing badges, because they are not police officers.
The AFGE has called for some TSA agents to be armed following the series of attacks at airports.