H.R. 2127, Securing Expedited Screening Act, as amended

H.R. 2127

Securing Expedited Screening Act, as amended

Sponsor
Rep. Bennie G. Thompson

Date
July 27, 2015 (114th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, July 27, 2015, the House will consider H.R. 2127, the Securing Expedited Screening Act, as amended, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 2127 was introduced on April 30, 2015, by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security, which ordered the bill reported by voice vote on June 25, 2015.

Bill Summary

H.R. 2127 directs the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), not later than 180 days after enactment, to limit access to expedited airport security screening at airport security checkpoints to participants of the PreCheck program and other known Department of Homeland Security (DHS) trusted traveler programs, or to those who are otherwise considered low-risk, such as members of the Armed Forces and those who are 75 years-old or older, or 12 years old, or younger, and who are traveling with a parent or guardian who is enrolled in PreCheck.

The bill permits the Administrator to extend the implementation date for up to one year for passengers who have not voluntarily submitted biographic and biometric information for a security risk assessment but who receive expedited security screening because they are frequent fliers.  The bill also allows the Administrator to provide expedited screening using alternative methods upon submission to Congress of an independent assessment determining that such methods will reliably and effectively identify low-risk passengers and mitigate security risks.

Further, the bill requires that in limiting access to expedited airport security screening such expedited screening must remain available to passengers at or exceeding the level existing on the day before the date on enactment.

Background

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created “to strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation systems and ensure the freedom of movement for people and commerce.”[1]  TSA seeks to provide the “most effective transportation security in the most efficient way as a high performing counterterrorism organization.”[2]

The TSA PreCheck program “allows low-risk travelers to experience expedited, more efficient security screening at participating U.S. airport checkpoints.”[3]  The program is designed to provide travelers quicker transit through airport security screening and an improved travel experience while maintaining appropriate security safeguards.

TSA also uses an assessment system called Managed Inclusion (MI) to “conduct a ‘real-time’ threat assessment to identify passengers who are eligible for TSA PreCheck on a flight-by-flight basis through the use of already present layers of security at the airports such as passenger screening canine teams, explosives trace detection technology, and behavior detection officers.”[4]  According to the Committee on Homeland Security, “MI may help reduce wait times and increase utilization of TSA PreCheck lanes, but it has not been tested or proven to improve the experience of travelers or reduce risks to aviation.”[5]  H.R. 2127 is designed to restrict TSA’s use of such alternate methods “unless the agency can demonstrate that such methods have been tested and proven to be effective security tools.”[6]

According to the bill’s sponsor, “expedited screening can be a critical aspect to our layered aviation security infrastructure but it must be employed using proven methods that do not create security gaps.”[7]

________________
[1] http://www.tsa.gov/about-tsa
[2] Id.
[3] https://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck/what-tsa-precheckR
[4] House Report 114-220 at 4.
[5] Id.
[6] Id.
[7] See Press Release—“Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Address Vulnerabilities in TSA Expedited Screening,” April 30, 2015.

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing H.R. 2127 would have no significant impact on the federal budget.  Enacting H.R. 2127 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Jerry White with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.