Rep. Rice Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Require Regular Maintenance of Airport Screening Technology
Legislation follows OIG report stating that TSA’s lack of adequate maintenance policies creates significant security risks
WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Kathleen Rice, the Democratic Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Transportation Security Subcommittee, yesterday introduced bipartisan legislation that will require the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to conduct regular preventive maintenance of airport screening technology. H.R. 2770, the Keeping Our Travelers Safe and Secure Act, follows a recent report by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG), which found that TSA “is not properly managing the maintenance of its airport screening equipment.” The OIG report noted that the lack of strict maintenance policies and procedures threatens to reduce equipment life, and that if equipment were not fully operational, TSA would be forced to rely on other screening measures that “may be less effective at detecting dangerous items.”
The Keeping Our Travelers Safe and Secure Act requires the TSA Administrator to develop and implement a preventive maintenance process for airport screening technology within 180 days. The process must include specific maintenance schedules, guidance for TSA personnel and contractors on how to conduct and document maintenance actions, mechanisms to insure compliance, and penalties for noncompliance. The legislation is co-sponsored by Rep. John Katko (R-NY), Chairman of the Transportation Security Subcommittee; Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the Democratic Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Committee; and Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ).
“This bipartisan, common-sense legislation will take action to correct the significant vulnerabilities raised in the Inspector General’s report,” said Representative Kathleen Rice. “The security of our airports and the safety of travelers depend on sophisticated technology, and TSA has to be more aggressive and proactive in ensuring that this technology is regularly maintained and kept fully operational. At a time when people are rightfully concerned about TSA’s ability to detect dangerous items, we cannot afford the risk of having to rely on less effective screening measures. I’m confident that we can move quickly to bring this bill to a vote and pass it with the bipartisan support it deserves.”
H.R. 2770 is scheduled to be marked up in the Transportation Security Subcommittee today at 11:30 a.m. The full text of the bill is available here.