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"House T&I Democrats Introduce Bill"



Friday, October 12, 2001 

House T&I Democrats Introduce Bill -- President will act on security
issues if Congress can't agree, House T&I Republicans to introduce
legislation next week 
AAAE/ACI-NA


A day after the Senate passed an aviation security bill (you can access
the bill text by visiting
http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/legis107/s1447final.pdf),
Democrats on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
introduced the Transportation Security Enhancement Act of 2001. Like the
Senate-passed bill, the Transportation Security Enhancement Act of 2001
calls for the federalization of screeners. The House Democratic bill,
however, calls for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to be
responsible for screening passengers not the Department of Justice (DOJ)
as the Senate bill does. 

Although many airports have indicated they are generally in favor of
federalizing the screening process, many are not convinced that using
federal employees exclusively is the best approach. We continue to relay
those concerns to Members of Congress and their staffs and make the
point that professionalization of the screener workforce - with better
training and certification - is the critical need. The proposal to
federalize screeners is particularly controversial in the House where
many Republican leaders have voiced their strong opposition to creating
more jobs for federal employees. 

We are disappointed that the House Democratic bill -- like the
Senate-passed bill -- does not include guaranteed funding to reimburse
airports for deploying more law enforcement officials and taking other
steps to improve aviation security in the wake of the terrorist attacks
on September 11. The bill does authorize an additional $500 million to
help pay for new security costs imposed on airports. We would need to
obtain the necessary appropriations in another bill. We will continue to
make the case that airports need to be reimbursed for the additional
security requirements. 

Unlike the Senate bill, the House Democratic bill does not allow
airports to temporarily use Airport Improvement Program funds and
Passenger Facility Charges to for law enforcement officials and other
new security costs. On a positive note, the bill does authorize a new
$1.00 Security Passenger Facility Charge on each passenger to help
airports pay for new security requirements. This fee would be tacked on
to the $2.50 one-way fee imposed on passengers to help pay for
federalizing the screening process. 

A detailed summary of the legislation can be found on
http://www.house.gov/transportation_democrats/Of_Interest/011012_AvSecSu
mmary.htm. The bill text is also available on
http://www.house.gov/transportation_democrats/Text_of_Legis/AVSecurity.P
DF. 

Also today, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the President would
act on aviation security by issuing an executive order if the House and
Senate could not agree on aviation security legislation. Today's
Congress Daily reported Fleischer as saying "It's fair to say the
president has broad authority here, and if the Congress is unable to
act, the president does want to make certain that aviation security is
attended to."

Finally, House T&I Republicans are expected to introduce aviation
security legislation next week. AAAE/ACI-NA Legislative Affairs staff
met with House T&I Republican staff today to press for additional
airport-relief provisions to be included in the bill. Chairman Don Young
and House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman John Mica will hold a press
conference on Wednesday, October 17 where they will outline their
legislation. For more information on the House T&I Republican bill,
visit http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/legis107/HouseRelease.pdf
.

   Post your comments in the CAA Legislative Forum
http://www.californiaaviation.org/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi?conf=DCConfID5

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