Homeland Security Subcommittee Passes TSA Authorization Legislation

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Washington, D.C. – Today, the Subcommittee on Transportation Security, chaired by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), passed the “Transportation Security Administration Authorization Act of 2011” by a vote of 6-3. 

The Committee on Homeland Security has sole jurisdiction over all TSA security matters.

The legislation approved today at a Subcommittee markup authorizes the functions and responsibilities of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013.

Subcommittee Chairman Rogers said: “This past weekend, we remembered those lost in the horrific terrorist attacks that occurred ten years ago on 9/11 in which planes were used against us as weapons. After 9/11, Congress created the Transportation Security Administration and gave it the mission of protecting our transportation systems from attack. Since that time TSA has grown into a large bureaucracy, which has decreased its ability to adapt to ever-evolving threats. This is the first step toward allowing TSA to do its job more efficiently and effectively.”

The approved legislation addresses all modes of transportation under TSA – passenger travel and commerce on planes, freight trains, trucks, mass transit, buses, and pipelines. The provisions of the legislation increase security while improving efficiencies to save taxpayer dollars and ensuring accountability. The legislation mandates a top-to-bottom review of all TSA operations and reorganization and improves the training and productivity of TSA employees.  It also provides a mechanism to recoup the cost of some used equipment through foreign sale. 

Specifically for passenger travel on planes, the legislation requires TSA to implement a common-sense, risk-based approach to passenger screening, which will ensure that low-risk, known travelers, such as U.S. military members, can be expedited through screening so that TSA passenger screeners can focus on higher-risk, unknown travelers.  In addition, the legislation would require that children not be subject to pat-downs unless an anomaly cannot be resolved through electronic screening methods.

The legislation, as amended at today’s Subcommittee markup, was referred to the Full Committee. 

Subcommittee Chairman Rogers’ opening statement from the markup is available HERE.   

For more information on today’s markup, including offered amendments and roll call votes, visit the Committee on Homeland Security website