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Thompson Highlights Democratic Provisions in FAA Reauthorization

Sep 26, 2018
Press Release

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the following list of Democratic homeland security bills and priorities that were included in the final FAA Reauthorization Act (H.R. 302) that passed the House of Representatives today.  Ranking Member Thompson released the following statement on the legislative package:

“I am proud to announce that numerous security provisions in today’s legislation were originally ideas championed by Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee. Nine bills sponsored by Democrats – and many of our longtime priorities – were included in the FAA Reauthorization Act because they are common sense, supported by both Republicans and Democrats, and will improve how TSA secures our transportation systems and conducts business.  This legislation positions TSA to address emerging threats, particularly as they relate to surface transportation and air cargo.  It directs TSA to introduce innovative technologies into its operations and opens the doors to the TSA marketplace for promising small businesses.  I am particularly pleased that the bill includes language directing TSA to work with AFGE, the union that represents the frontline workforce, to develop long-needed personnel reforms.  Lastly – it takes important steps to prevent future passenger security fees from being stolen from TSA.”


Democratic-sponsored bills included:

The Air Cargo Security Improvement Act (H.R. 4176), sponsored by Ranking Member Thompson – establishes an air cargo security division within TSA to carry out policy and engagement with air cargo security stakeholders and directs a review of current TSA air cargo security policies.

The TSA OPEN for Business Act (H.R. 6459), sponsored by Ranking Member Thompson – directs TSA to improve how it partners with small business on acquisitions and procurement and explores establishing a venture capital program for small business technology innovators.

The Airport Perimeter and Access Control Security Act (H.R. 665), sponsored by Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA) – modernizes and enhances airport perimeter and access control security by requiring TSA update risk assessments and develop streamlined strategies for threat mitigation.

The Surface Transportation Security Improvement Act (H.R. 5131), sponsored by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) – improves the effectiveness of TSA efforts to identify and address security risks to surface transportation, secure against vehicle-based attacks, and assess the feasibility of new technologies.

The TSA National Deployment Force Act (H.R. 6461), sponsored by Rep. Watson Coleman – allows TSA to deploy additional staffing resources because of passenger volume or need, including after natural disasters and in support of special events.

The Strengthening Local Transportation Security Capabilities Act (H.R. 5089), sponsored by Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-CA) – directs TSA to develop and share a framework for integrated operations centers at transportation facilities.

The Transparency in Technological Acquisitions Act (H.R. 1353), sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) – improves TSA transparency in technology investment by requiring the agency to submit updated 5-year investment plans to Congress annually.

The Keeping our Travelers Safe and Secure Act (H.R. 2770 in 114th), sponsored by Rep. Rice – requires TSA to develop and implement a preventative maintenance validation process for security-related technology at airports.

The Securing Public Areas of Transportation Facilities Act (H.R. 5766), sponsored by Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ) – establishes a public and private sector working group to improve coordination for public transportation threat mitigation and directs TSA to conduct a review of policies governing the transportation of firearms.


Other Democratic priorities included:

Personnel Management System Review (Sec. 1907) – enhances workforce rights by requiring TSA convene a working group with labor representatives to recommend and report on reforms to TSA’s personnel management system, a priority for organized labor. Language originally authored by Ranking Member Thompson.

Authorization of Appropriations; Exit Lane Security (Sec. 1921) – funds secure exit lanes at airport security checkpoints, rejecting a Trump Administration proposal to shift those responsibilities to airports. Language originally authored by Rep. Val Demings (D-FL).

VIPR Team Statistics (Sec. 1930) – requires TSA to maintain at least 30 VIPR teams through FY2021, a rejection led by Democrats of the Trump Administration’s FY2019 budget proposal to defund the program. Language originally authored by Rep. Watson Coleman.

Law Enforcement Officer Reimbursement Program (Sec. 1935) – increases local law enforcement support of aviation security, rejecting a Trump Administration proposal to defund the program. Language originally authored by Rep. Barragán.

Passenger Security Fee (Sec. 1940) – starting FY2027, TSA will retain all passenger security fee collections rather than losing some to the general treasury. This is similar to the FASTER Act, legislation co-sponsored by Ranking Member Thompson and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR) in the 114th and 115th Congresses.

Transportation Security Training Programs (Sec. 1948) – authorizes TSA’s new-hire training program to improve training consistency that began in the Obama Administration.


Ranking Member Thompson floor video in support of FAA Reauth:

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978