WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today spoke on the Senate floor on an agreement announced today by House and Senate leaders on bipartisan aviation legislation. The agreement extends the Federal Aviation Administration through September 30, 2017, and provides important safety, security, and time-sensitive improvements for the U.S. aviation system.
Mr. President, as I mentioned above, the final essential element to protecting Americans from terrorist attacks is addressing our vulnerabilities here at home.
The recent terrorist attacks in Istanbul and Brussels highlighted vulnerabilities at airports that we need to address to prevent similar attacks in the U.S.
This afternoon, the House and Senate announced they had reached agreement on a final version of aviation legislation.
In addition to aviation safety measures and new consumer protections like guaranteed refunds of baggage fees for lost or seriously delayed luggage, this legislation provides one of the largest, most comprehensive airport security packages in years.
This legislation improves vetting of airport employees to address the insider terrorist threat – the risk that an airport employee would give a terrorist access to secure areas of an airport.
It includes provisions to get more Americans enrolled in PreCheck, to reduce the size of crowds waiting in unsecured areas of the airport.
And it contains measures to add more K-9 units and other security personnel at airports so that we’re better able to deter attacks.
In addition, the bill requires the TSA to look at ways to improve security checkpoints to make the passenger screening process more efficient and effective.
I look forward to sending this legislation to the president by July 15.