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Transportation Security Acquisition Reform Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 2719, the ``Transportation Security Acquisition Reform Act.'' The bill requires the Transportation Security Administration to implement best practices and improve transparency regarding technology acquisition.

I thank the Chairman Michael McCaul and Ranking Member Bennie Thompson for their bipartisan effort to make air travel safer.

I want to take this time to remember Gerardo I. Hernandez, a Transportation Security Administration officer who was killed in the line of duty at the Los Angeles International Airport.

There were two other TSA officers wounded along with a schoolteacher during a gun battle with two airport police officers.

I continue to keep them, their families, colleagues and friends in my thoughts and prayers.

This incident punctuates the importance of securing our airports and flights from threats. A critical component of the security strategy being pursued is related to the acquisition and use of technology.

The Transportation Security Acquisition Reform Act builds upon the Committee on Homeland Security's work on the issue of TSA's acquisition practices.

For years, I, along with Ranking Member Thompson and my fellow colleagues on the Committee have urged TSA to be more transparent and accountable when acquiring security-related technologies. H.R. 2719 requires just that.

It also requires TSA to take a hard look at the obstacles it has encountered in the area of small business contracting and to identify ways to improve in that area.

There were three Jackson Lee amendments offered to improve the bill that aid in meeting the goals of the bill.

The first Jackson Lee amendment directs the Comptroller of the United States to provide a report to the House and Senate Committees on Homeland Security on their findings regarding the status of the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) implementation of GAO recommendations related to acquisition of security technology.

The second Jackson Lee amendment directs the TSA to provide a report to the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees on the feasibility of inventory tracking through automated information and data capture technologies.

This Jackson Lee amendment allows the TSA to investigate private sector use of inventory tracking technology and determine if any of these technologies would be beneficial to the agency.

The third Jackson Lee amendment states that to the extent practicable, the Chief Privacy Officer for the Department of Homeland Security shall include consultation with organizations that advocate for the protection of privacy and civil liberties.

These Jackson Lee amendments were adopted en bloc by the Full Committee and are included in H.R. 2719.

I was pleased to support this legislation during both the Subcommittee and Full Committee markups of the measure and continue to support it today.

Critically, this legislation requires TSA to develop a multiyear plan for its investments in security-related technology.

With the plan, vision, and oversight this bill mandates, I am hopeful TSA's missteps in the area of security-related technology acquisition will soon be a thing of the past.

I urge my colleagues to join me in support of H.R. 2719. I yield back my time.


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