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Ted Cruz’s Airport Security Plan Hits Turbulence

In the recent negotiations surrounding the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization, a proposal backed by Sen. Ted Cruz, aimed at providing special security escorts at airports for lawmakers and judges was met with contention.

According to The Hill, a staffer familiar with the negotiations disclosed that Rep. Bennie Thompson, the ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, blocked the language after the TSA lobbied against it.

The initiative sought to offer security escorts and tailored screenings for members of Congress, judges, and Cabinet members deemed to be under real threats by federal law enforcement experts.

When asked why these measures are necessary, Cruz told Politico that the bill would ensure the safety of political VIPs, as they are “serious security threats facing public officials”, and that “it’s important that we take reasonable measures to keep everyone safe.”

Regardless of whether they have received threats, prominent lawmakers undergo standard TSA screenings, unlike certain exempt administration officials. 

Critics, including Thompson, voiced concerns over the potential strain on TSA resources and the cost implications of expanding eligibility for special escorts and screenings. They contended that diverting resources from existing programs could compromise overall security efforts.

“I’m glad that sanity prevailed and this provision – which almost no one really wanted – wasn’t included in the final FAA bill text. Hopefully this issue is now put to rest. Congress should be focusing on improving TSA and keeping our skies more secure, not burdening its workforce and potentially diminishing security,” Thompson said in a statement.

In February, Cruz’s proposal found its way into the FAA reauthorization bill. However, the following month, Congress opted for a straightforward extension of the FAA’s authority to allow for further deliberation on a comprehensive bill. This extension is set to expire on May 10. 

Written by RA News staff.


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