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Thompson Applauds Efforts to Improve Transportation Security

Today, Committee on Homeland Security Democrats pushed through an improved Transportation Security Administration reorganization bill. Due to overwhelming Democratic support at today’s Subcommittee on Economic Security, Infrastructure Protection and Cybersecurity markup, Chairman Daniel Lungren (R-CA) accepted five critical Democratic amendments aimed at improving our nation’s transportation security. The amendments included:

An amendment offered by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) removed the most egregious provision in the bill—the opt-out language or “Share In Savings” program, which essentially would bribe airports to opt out of using TSA screeners in favor of private contractors . If accepted, this provision would have returned our aviation security to the pre-9/11 days when the lowest bidder was in charge of our nation’s security.

Two amendments were offered by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA). The first would reverse TSA’s recent decision to allow scissors and small tools to be brought aboard commercial aircraft. The second addresses the movement of extremely hazardous material. It requires physical security measures and surveillance technologies as well as pre-notification of hazardous material transports to affected communities in advance.

An amendment offered by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) mandates security plans and training for rail and mass transit systems.

An amendment offered by ESIP&C Ranking Member Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), to kick-start the Transportation Worker Identification Card (TWIC) program. This amendment requires TSA to begin issuing TWIC cards by June 1, 2007 to transportation workers at known terrorist targets such as our ports, airports, and rail systems.
Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) issued the following statement regarding the markup:

“I am heartened that the Subcommittee passed amended legislation that strengthens the security of our nation’s skies, roads, and rail systems. I personally look forward to taking up this bill in the full Committee and moving forward with comprehensive transportation security measures to keep us safe at home.”

“In addition, another critical issue that we must address is whether the American flying public should have to pay more in ticket fees. It is my hope that we could work together to obtain security gains without putting more stress on the already beleaguered airlines and aviation industry.”

Please contact Dena Graziano at (202) 226-2616

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS)

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson

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