King, Rogers, McCaul Introduce Bill to Aid Airports Seeking to Replace TSA Screening with Private Screening Companies
TSA Halted Expansion of Private Screener Program in January
Washington, D.C. (Friday, April 15, 2011) – Today, U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, along with Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation Security, and Rep. Michael T. McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Management, introduced H.R. 1586, the “Security Enhancement and Jobs Act of 2011.”
H.R. 1586 aids airport operators who, under the Screening Partnership Program (SPP), seek to replace TSA screeners with private screening companies operating under federal supervision and guidelines.
The Aviation Transportation Security Act (ATSA) established the SPP, but in January 2011, TSA Administrator John Pistole announced that TSA would not expand SPP beyond its current 16 airports “unless there are clear and substantial advantages to doing so.”
H.R. 1586 requires TSA to act on applications within 120 days of receiving them, approving them if they would not compromise security or the effectiveness of screening or adversely affect TSA’s mission. The legislation also requires TSA to reconsider any applications pending at the time of Pistole’s announcement.
Chairman King said: “The private sector includes invaluable partners in national and homeland security, and we need to make sure that the Department of Homeland Security is working to encourage participation of private companies providing security services, not hinder it. This legislation brings necessary transparency to the TSA’s decisions to approve or deny opt-out applications by airports. As long as security is not compromised, airport operators should have the flexibility of determining whether to employ all-federal screeners or private screeners.”
The Committee on Homeland Security has sole jurisdiction over all TSA security matters.