Debate Over Growing TSA Lines Continues
Lawmakers maintained their focus on growing airport security lines, as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) continues to grapple with the growing number of summer travelers. Congressman Mike McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and several colleagues are preparing legislation aimed at easing the bottlenecks, including language that would temporarily allow airports to pay TSA officers overtime. After a meeting with airport officials, Chairman McCaul suggested there is a significant lack of communication between local airports and TSA and that increased cooperation could help ease the burden. His committee will continue oversight over the matter with two hearings this week, including one that will include local perspectives.
Across the Capitol, several Senators are now pressuring airlines to halt fees for checked luggage in an effort to cut back on the number of bags that go through TSA screening. Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) introduced legislation (S. 2656) in March targeting these fees. The FAIR Fees Act would require the Secretary of Transportation to establish regulations that would prohibit airlines from imposing fees that are unreasonable or disproportional to the costs incurred for, among other things, checked baggage.
This Week’s Hearings:
- Tuesday, May 24: The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security will meet to mark up its FY 2017 spending measure.
- Tuesday, May 24: The House Homeland Security Subcommittees on Cybersecurity, Communications will hold a joint hearing titled “Enhancing Preparedness and Response Capabilities to Address Cyber Threats.”
- Tuesday, May 24: The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security will hold a hearing titled “Border Security Gadgets, Gizmos, and Information: Using Technology to Increase Situational Awareness and Operational Control.”
- Wednesday, May 25: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will meet to consider pending legislation.
- Wednesday, May 25: The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing titled “Long Lines, Short Patience: The TSA Airport Screening Experience.”
- Thursday, May 26: The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security will hold a hearing titled “Long Lines, Short Patience: Local Perspectives.”
- Thursday, May 26: The Senate Appropriations Committee will meet to mark up its FY 2017 spending measure.
- Thursday, May 26: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled “Protecting America from the Threat of ISIS.”
- Thursday, May 26: The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet to consider pending legislation.