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Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. FORTENBERRY. Mr. Chairman, I wish to enter into a colloquy with the gentleman from Alabama, Chairman Aderholt.

First, I want to commend his leadership on this appropriations bill concerning the security screenings of children by the Transportation Security Administration. The TSA should absolutely have particular sensitivity in the screening process of children and should minimize children's distress and discomfort. I am very thankful to the gentleman for raising this issue in the manager's amendment and for recognizing this need.

But as this process moves forward, I would encourage the chairman to stress the importance of this same sensitivity to the elderly and the infirm. We have all seen too many images in high-profile news stories about the mistreatment of the elderly and the infirm as well as of passengers with religious or conscience objections. No good American should be forced to check his modesty at the airport door--maybe his luggage but not his modesty.

I also appreciate the fact that the report encourages various alternative screening models that would better preserve the civil liberties and privacy of all passengers by moving toward a more risk-based approach, using intelligence more than relying on technology. I encourage the chairman to continue moving TSA along this path.

Would the chairman be willing to work with me on these issues for the benefit of America's airline passengers?

Mr. ADERHOLT. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. FORTENBERRY. I yield to the gentleman from Alabama.

Mr. ADERHOLT. I thank the gentleman for his support of the House report language on sensitivity for child passenger screenings, and it is certainly reasonable to include other vulnerable individuals like the elderly and the infirm.

I will work with the gentleman going forward on these matters, and thank him for bringing the challenges of screening these other individuals to the floor. I look forward to working with him on this matter.

Mr. FORTENBERRY. I thank the gentleman from Alabama again for his leadership on the overall appropriations bill here and for his particular sensitivity to this issue.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.


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