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March 20, 2020

Homeland Democrats Write TSA on Coronavirus Contingency Plans for Its Workforce, Flying Public

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA), Chairman of the Transportation and Maritime Security Subcommittee, and other Democratic Members of the Committee, sent a letter to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regarding the protection of Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) still serving on the frontlines at our airports during the coronavirus pandemic.  An increasing number of officers have tested positive, while hundreds more are forced to quarantine.  The members ask for a briefing as soon as possible, as well as answers to specific questions on how the agency is protecting its workforce, as well as the public, and how it is planning for possible contingencies as the pandemic is sure to worsen in the coming days and weeks. 

Letter excerpts:

TSOs, Federal Air Marshals (FAMs), and other frontline TSA employees continue to exhibit bravery and commendable dedication to TSA’s mission as they report for duty during this pandemic. The quickly increasing number of TSA employees testing positive and being exposed to the virus raises a number of concerns related to the health and safety of the agency’s workforce as well as the benefits and protections afforded them. Unfortunately, given current trends, the scale of TSA employees’ interactions with the traveling public, and the nationwide lack of sufficient testing for the virus, many more employees will likely contract the virus in the coming days and weeks. While the spread of this virus has been quick, it is clear that TSA’s efforts to protect its workforce to date have fallen short.

We must make every effort to ensure TSA employees are kept safe from this virus. They are on the front lines of aviation security, keeping the traveling public secure from threats to transportation during a vulnerable time for our country. Failure to keep TSA employees safe will not only risk our national security, but will also contribute to the exponential spread of the virus.

Link to Letter

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