The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed this week the Aviation Employee Screening and Security Enhancement Act, authored by U.S. Rep. John Katko (R-NY), which aims to strengthen security at the nation’s airports by providing enhanced screening procedures for airport and aviation employees.
“This bill will enhance employee-vetting requirements, improve procedures governing the way airports issue security credentials, and reform TSA’s employee screening operations to be more targeted and effective,” Katko said. “It will also provide policymakers with critical, previously unavailable data relating to the cost and feasibility of providing full employee screening at domestic airports.”
Katko introduced the bill shortly after his Subcommittee on Transportation and Protective Security released a comprehensive report on vulnerabilities and gaps in employee screening and access controls at the nation’s airports.
Three days after the report was issued, a large drug smuggling ring was uncovered that involved both Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airport employees in Puerto Rico. The resulting investigation revealed that security vulnerabilities led to approximately 20 tons, or $100 million worth, of cocaine being smuggled into the continental United States.
This bill was the fourth piece of legislation authored by Katko to advance the House with bipartisan support during the 115th Congress.