On April 19, 2016, the U.S. Senate voted 95-3 to approve a security-focused, passenger-friendly bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration and other federal air travel programs. The bill included several bipartisan provisions authored by both members of the Senate and the House of Representatives to improve the safety and efficiency of airport security. The bill’s comprehensive security improvement initiatives include:
- Reducing wait times through PreCheck – Senate passed security provisions awaiting House action include the TSA PreCheck Enhancement Act which would help enroll more Americans in expedited security screening to reduce waits by vetting more passengers before they arrive to get them through checkpoints quickly.
- Using K-9s and personnel to increase safety and efficiency – The Senate bill includes provisions to enhance the security presence of K-9 units and other personnel in pre-screening airport areas and increases preparedness for active shooter incidents.
- Securing international flights bound for the U.S. – Because some international airports abroad operating non-stop flights to U.S. airports lack the security equipment and expertise of U.S. and other state-of-the-art airports, the Senate FAA bill awaiting House action authorizes TSA to donate unneeded security equipment to foreign airports with direct flights to the U.S., permits increased cooperation between U.S. officials and partner nations, and requires a new assessment of foreign cargo security programs.
- Addressing the insider threat of terrorism – The Senate passed bill also enhances requirements and vetting for airport employees with access to secure areas. It expands the use of random and physical inspections of airport employees in secure areas and requires a review of perimeter security.