Today, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard's (HI-02) bipartisan Helping Heroes Fly Act (H.R. 1344), the first piece of legislation she introduced in the House. This measure will improve airport security screening for wounded and severely disabled service members and veterans by ensuring personal privacy and consistent application of efficient screening procedures.
"For our wounded warriors and their families, airline travel will now be a much more dignified experience," said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. "Due to the nature of their injuries and disabilities, removing a belt, shoe or jacket can be more than just an inconvenience. These selfless heroes should never have to face lengthy, invasive, and even humiliating screening procedures at our airports. The Helping Heroes Fly Act is a strong step toward ensuring they do not face unnecessary hardships after having served our country with courage and dignity. I will push for the bill to be considered and passed in the U.S. Senate and signed by the president into law."
"I would like to commend Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard for introducing this thoughtful, bipartisan legislation," said Congressman Bennie Thompson, Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security. "The Helping Heroes Fly Act will improve the screening experience for our injured and disabled veterans by requiring TSA to facilitate the ease of travel and provide expedited screening to these brave men and women. Passage of this legislation is the right thing to do to for those who sacrificed and were injured while serving our nation."
"This Act mandates that TSA make every effort to protect the privacy of wounded warriors and ensure that our nation's heroes are shown their due respect and appreciation," said Bill Lawson, National President of Paralyzed Veterans of America. "I particularly want to thank Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard for her efforts on behalf of our members and all disabled service members and veterans who travel."
After hearing from advocates of members of the Armed Forces and veterans, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard found that the Transportation Security Administration's current "Wounded Warrior Screening Program" needed to be improved.
The legislation is supported by many stakeholders in the veterans community and the airline industry, including the American Legion, Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Wounded Warrior Project, Disabled American Veterans, the American Federation of Government Employees, and the Air Line Pilots Association.