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"Lawmakers testify before the House Rules Committee on security proposals"



Wednesday, October 30, 2001

Lawmakers testify before the House Rules Committee on security proposals
- Today's Aviation Security Press Conferences -- Garvey Thanks Airports 
AAAE/ACI-NA


Lawmakers argue before House Rules Committee on aviation security
proposals

Earlier today, House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO) announced
that Democrats would back H.R. 3165, legislation sponsored by
Representative Greg Ganske (R-IA) that is identical to the Senate-passed
aviation security legislation. This evening, the leadership of the House
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Aviation
Subcommittee testified before the House Rules Committee and argued that
their legislative proposal should be brought to the House floor. As
expected, much of the debate centered on whether or not to federalize
airport screeners. As we've reported, the House leadership promised a
vote on aviation security this week.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Don Young (R-AK)
testified that the President supports his proposal and that the Senate
bill was "chaotic" and would not strengthen airport security. Young also
vehemently denied arguments that opposition to the Senate bill is tied
to Republican reluctance to provide more unionized workers. House
Aviation Subcommittee Chairman John Mica called the Senate bill "a
complete farce" and said that passing the Senate version would
completely miss the problem.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Jim Oberstar
(D-MN) responded by saying that the United States doesn't contract out
the Marine Corps and that security is a national responsibility. He
added that the Senate bill would allow for federalization of airport
screeners but would also provide flexibility with regard to the hiring
and firing of screeners. Oberstar also said that the Republican Party
leadership had held up progress on the bill for political reasons. 

To read Oberstar's statement visit
http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/leigha/oberstarrulescomments.pdf
. For an Oberstar Dear Colleague on the airport screener issue, visit
http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/letters/oberstarduh.pdf. We will
provide more details on the Rules hearing as they emerge. Stay tuned!

Video clips from the Rules Committee Hearing will be available tomorrow
on the AAAE/ACI-NA Legislative Affairs video bank at
http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/press/video.htm. 

Today's Aviation Security Press Conferences

Video Clips Available NOW on
http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/press/video.htm. 

Two press conferences on Capitol Hill today had members of both Houses
on Congress passionately debating their respective bills. House
Democrats, who were joined by Senator John McCain (R-AZ), threw their
full support behind H.R. 3165, the bill introduced by Republican
Representative Greg Ganske that is a replicate of the Senate-passed
aviation security bill, S. 1447. Ganske also took part in the
Gephardt-McCain press conference.

Previously, House Democratic leadership said they would support
federalization of airport screeners under the auspices of the Department
of Justice. However, today House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt stated
that the House lawmakers would like to pass the Senate's aviation
security bill thereby avoiding a conference committee and sending the
bill straight to the President's desk. Gephardt's remarks can be found
on the AAAE/ACI-NA Legislative website at
http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/leigha/gephardtcomments.pdf. 

Oberstar, who is the sponsor of a separate aviation security bill, HR
3110, today stated that the most important aspect of any security bill
should be the removal of the screening process from the hands of private
companies who are only interested in making profits. Senator John
McCain, an ardent proponent of both aviation security overhaul and
campaign finance reform, also railed against private security companies,
offering lobbying techniques employed this week by many of these
companies as prime examples.

As House Democrats were rallying their cry for federalization of airport
screeners, Republicans were also holding a press conference to push
their bill, HR 3150. Chairman Young emphasized that his bill gives the
President the flexibility to make screeners federal employees if he
feels it is the right thing to do. Chairman Mica explained that the
Republican-backed bill stresses the importance of a private-public
partnership, highlighting federal oversight by the Department of
Transportation and private-employee screeners. 

Garvey Commends Airports and AAAE President Chip Barclay

Video Clips Available NOW on
http://www.airportnet.org/depts/federal/press/video.htm. 

On Monday, during her remarks to the AAAE Security Summit, FAA
Administrator Jane Garvey commended AAAE President Chip Barclay for his
work on the Airport Rapid Response team and also thanked airports for
doing an extraordinary job since the September 11 attacks. Garvey was
the key note speaker at the summit which drew nearly 500 members of the
airport and aviation industry to Washington to hear from DOT and FAA
officials as well as Capitol Hill staff on the future of aviation
security.

"You have all done an extraordinary job in the past seven weeks," Garvey
said. "You've had tremendous demands placed on you. I know it and every
time we put out a security directive we know that there will be more
demands on you," she said. Garvey added that airports have been asked to
increase law enforcement, conduct more background checks and employee
validation as well as implement new security procedures under intense
scrutiny from the traveling public and the press. "Many of you, who have
often thought of yourself as running a transportation facility, now
wonder whether you are running a business, law enforcement, or a
military operation," she said.

Garvey also commended AAAE for establishing a General Aviation Airports
Security Task Force and said that she has already taken a look at the
group's recommendations for improving general aviation security. Garvey
also said that the airport presence in Washington and the AAAE/ACI-NA
lobbying presence on Capitol Hill would be "critical" as Congress
debates aviation security legislation.

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