WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation today, in the wake of the recent terror attacks, urged his colleagues to support the strong aviation security and passenger-friendly reforms in the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill under consideration in the U.S. Senate.
Mr. President, I rise today to address the Senate’s ongoing effort to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration.
The bill before us today was described in the Washington Post as “one of the most passenger-friendly FAA reauthorization bills in a generation” thanks to its robust new consumer protections.
But even more importantly, this bill includes strong new security measures that address the threat ISIS and other terrorist groups pose to airline passengers.
In the wake of the Brussels attacks, travelers are understandably nervous about the threats they face when flying, especially given terrorists’ preference for targeting transportation.
Here in the Senate, we’re doing everything we can to address that threat.
And I’m proud that this bill includes new protections to prevent an attack like the one in Brussels from happening at a U.S. airport.
The FAA reauthorization includes the most comprehensive set of aviation security reforms since President Obama first took office.
To prevent airport insiders from helping terrorists, we’ve included measures to improve scrutiny of individuals applying to work in secure airport areas.
This is especially critical as many experts believe the bombing of a Russian passenger jet leaving Egypt had help from an aviation insider.
We’ve also included provisions to better safeguard public areas outside security in airports and to help reduce passenger backups. These reforms could help prevent a future attack like the one on the Brussels terminal last month, which targeted a crowd of passengers in an area where the attackers didn’t even need tickets.
Because staying ahead of threats needs to be a priority, we also included additional cybersecurity provisions and added anti-terrorism security features for new aircraft.
The security reforms in this legislation were actually developed months ago as follow-ups to congressional oversight, independent evaluations of agencies, and the study of existing problems.
But these reforms have gained new urgency in the wake of recent attacks by ISIS.
We need to constantly monitor and stay ahead of threats so that we can continue to ensure that our air transportation system is the safest in the world.
Mr. President, more than any other reason, I support the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2016 because it will make the traveling public safer.
For all of the many ways it improves our air transportation system, the provisions to keep Americans safe stand out as especially deserving of our support and as heightening the need to send this legislation on to the House.
Visit www.commerce.senate.gov/faa for information on the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act.