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Public Statements

Aviation Security Stakeholder Participation Act of 2013

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I rise in strong support of H.R. 1204, the Aviation Security Stakeholder Participation Act of 2013.

Last Congress, I introduced a version of the legislation before us today when the charter for the Aviation Security Advisory Committee was allowed to expire, resulting in the advisory committee becoming inactive.

Since shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, the advisory committee has provided formal stakeholder input and advice to TSA with respect to aviation security policies. I was pleased that in response to my bill, then-Secretary Napolitano restored this critical forum for stakeholder input.

To prevent a lapse in the advisory committee's operation, it is important that it be codified in law. That is exactly what H.R. 1204 does.

The bill authorizes, in law, the establishment of the Aviation Security Advisory Committee to provide representatives from air carriers, aircraft manufacturers, airport operators, general aviation stakeholders and labor organizations, among others, an opportunity to provide input into policymaking and have their voices heard.

It also requires the establishment of subcommittees to focus on cargo security, general aviation security, perimeter security, exit lane security, security-related technologies, and risk-based security, respectively.

Whatever your thoughts about TSA's policy decisions, I believe we can all agree that such decisions should be made only after meaningful consultation and coordination with stakeholders.

Earlier this year, when TSA announced proposed changes in its Prohibited Items List that would have resulted in knives being allowed on planes for the first time since 9/11, we got a firsthand glimpse of the problems that arise when stakeholders are not consulted.

Only after an overwhelmingly negative reaction to this decision did Administrator Pistole put the issue before the advisory committee for review. Ultimately, after this critical consultation, TSA reversed its decision.

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that consultation is important; it is clear that codifying this bill is that necessary. But I would also like to add that there are other organizations who want to be placed in the record in support of it: the Cargo Airline Association, the Association of Flight Attendants, the U.S. Travel Association, the Airports Council International, the Security Manufacturers Coalition, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to once again support legislation to codify the Aviation Security Advisory Committee.

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