Legislative Activity

Congress Continues Oversight of Aviation Security Agency

On Thursday, July 23, the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security advanced three measures aimed at strengthening the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), after covert TSA testing earlier this year found airport screeners failed to detect prohibited items in 67 out of 70 test cases.

The Transportation Security Administration Reform and Improvement Act of 2015 would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to improve the efficiency of TSA’s PreCheck program, review TSA’s secure flight program comparing airline passenger lists to government watch lists, and require a report on the efficiency and effectiveness of the Surface Transportation Security Inspection Program, which surveys and conducts inspections of freight rail operations across the United States.

The Airport Access Control Security Improvement Act of 2015 (H.R. 3102) would create a risk-based program for airport employee screening based on their need for access to secure areas. A manager’s amendment introduced by Subcommittee Chairman John Katko (R-NY) and adopted during the mark-up would establish redress procedures for airport employees denied access based on past criminal offenses.

Finally, the Partners for Aviation Security Act (H.R. 3144) would require consultations with the Aviation Security Advisory Commission, a panel of industry groups and other interested stakeholders, when considering the list of items prohibited from being taken onto commercial aircraft.

Separately, newly-confirmed TSA Administrator will appear before the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday, July 29, to discuss his plans for leading the agency and how he intends to address concerns regarding TSA management.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, July 28: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled “Avoiding Duplication: An Examination of the State Department’s Proposal to Construct a New Diplomatic Security Training Facility.”
  • Wednesday, July 29: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a Business Meeting.
  • Wednesday, July 29: The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing titled “Aviation Security Challenges: Is TSA Ready for the Threats of Today?”