|Date||May 21, 2013 (113th Congress, 1st Session)|
|Staff Contact||Ed Bedard|
On Tuesday, May 21, 2013, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 1344, the Helping Heroes Fly Act,under a suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on March 21, 2013 by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security.
H.R. 1344 directs the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to provide expedited passenger screening for severely injured or disabled veterans and members of the Armed Forces and their families. The bill also directs the Assistant Secretary to maintain a 24/7 operations center to support and facilitate their transportation. Lastly, the bill directs the Assistant Secretary to train current and new employees whose job responsibilities include screening on the new screening protocols and to provide an annual report to Congress.
Since the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, regulations and procedures related to airport security screening have become more stringent. As a result, long lines at security checkpoints have become the norm for travelers throughout the United States. In an effort to reduce these lines and the wait times for frequent flyers, the TSA starting testing a new expedited screening program in late 2011 called PreCheck. As part of the program, certain frequent flyers are able to go through a dedicated security line and are not required to remove their shoes or belts, nor remove laptops and liquids from their bags. Though it only began in a few airports for domestic travel, the PreCheck program has continued to expand, and is now be available at 40 airports nationwide and on international travel. TSA has also expanded the program to include Active Duty members of the military, and most recently, on March 27, 2013 to severely injured members of the military.
H.R. 1344 directs the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for the TSA to extend similar benefits to severely injured or disabled veterans and members of the Armed Forces.
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