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Public Statements

Transportation Security Administration Authorization Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. HOLT. Mr. Chair, there are many worthy and needed provisions in this legislation. It authorizes a tripling of surface transportation security funding, to $15.6 billion. It requires the Transportation Security Administration to field at least 100 canine teams, which are absolutely critical to our bomb detection efforts. The bill creates a $10 million grant program for improving security measures at general aviation airports. These and many other provisions in the bill are laudable.

Unfortunately, the bill includes a provision that would allow TSA at least two more years to achieve the congressionally-mandated goal of screening 100 percent of air cargo on passenger jets. Mr. Chair, we can't keep kicking this can down the road. The traveling public has been demanding for years that we close this major airline security gap. We said we would fulfill all the recommendations of the Ð9/11 Commission. We haven't.

If we give TSA two more years, two years from now TSA will say ``We need more time.'' Congress has supplied the money to achieve this goal. What we need from TSA is results-oriented leadership to get the job done. The best way to finish this job is to keep the existing deadline in place, which is why I could not support this bill. I hope that we can improve this bill during any conference with the Senate or if it is included in a larger Homeland Security authorization bill by removing this two-year extension on meeting the cargo screening requirement.

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