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Public Statements

H.R. 2217, Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, my amendment would completely eliminate funding for the Transportation Security Administration, TSA, and transfer that money to the spending reduction account, saving taxpayers nearly $5 billion.

Congress intended for TSA to be an efficient, cutting-edge, intelligence-based agency responsible for protecting our airports and keeping our passengers safe and secure, but today it has grown into one of the largest bureaucracies in the Federal Government. They've had a 400 percent increase in staff since they were created. A good portion of those are headquarters employees making six-figure incomes, on the average.

What's worse is that the American passengers aren't getting a good return on the more than $60 billion investment that they've spent on TSA. Reports indicate that more than 25,000--repeat, 25,000--security breaches have occurred in U.S. airports since 2001.

Plus, we have evidence today that terrorists on the no-fly list still have been able to board U.S. aircraft--terrorists boarding U.S. aircraft, in spite of TSA.

Furthermore, we've seen report after report on TSA employees displaying a lack of professionalism, being inadequately trained, and even engaging in theft and other illegal activities.

Just about the only thing that the TSA is consistently good at is using its extensive power to violate American travelers' civil liberties. Veterans, the disabled, the elderly, and even small children have been the victims of overly invasive searches by TSA officers. This is all evidence that the TSA has veered dangerously off course.

I've repeatedly asked that we use our resources to focus on intelligence and technologies that could be more effective when it comes to catching terrorists. I've called for the privatization of TSA, and so have many other of my colleagues. But we still have yet to see the necessary changes made to the TSA personnel or to its procedures that will ensure the safety and security of our airports and passengers.

Mr. Chairman, this amendment to zero out funding for the TSA forces Congress and the Department of Homeland Security to start from scratch on a leaner, more effective, and more focused and more productive system for protecting our U.S. citizens. I urge my colleagues to support my amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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