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No-Hassle Flying Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. WALSH of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, earlier this year I introduced H.R. 6028, the No-Hassle Flying Act, which is a very simple bill that streamlines baggage security measures for international flights.

Over the past decade, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has designated 14 international airports as preclearance airports. They are located in Canada, the Caribbean, and Ireland, and continue to exhibit comparable security standards to ours right here in the United States. When passengers originate from one of these airports and fly into the U.S., they are not required to go through security again because they have already been fully vetted. Unfortunately, an ambiguity in U.S. law does not exempt their bags as well.

U.S. law today requires all baggage entering the United States to be rescreened by a TSA agent, regardless of where it originates. That means that passengers, often on short or late-night layovers, must exit security, claim their bags from baggage claim, recheck them, and go through security again. This double security does not equal double safety. It equals missed flights, more hassles, and it wastes taxpayer dollars.

Therefore, all this bill does is give CBP and TSA the authority to exempt baggage coming from one of those 14 preclearance airports from being rescreened as well. This issue was brought to my attention by TSA, and H.R. 6028 has come together with a great deal of their help.

I would like to also especially thank the staffs of Representatives THOMPSON and Sheila Jackson Lee for helping improve upon this bill. With their help, H.R. 6028 has been redrafted to clarify the intent of the bill, which is that baggage originating only from preclearance airports can enter the United States without being rescreened.

As TSA and CBP gravitate toward more efficient risk-based security measures instead of 100 percent blanket checks, this type of bipartisan legislation will make that process easier. It will also save travelers time and allow security officers to focus on higher-risk baggage from overseas locations.

I also want to thank Subcommittee Chairman Rogers and his staff for their assistance on this bill.

I urge Members to vote in support. I reserve the balance of my time.

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