Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who has been leading the effort in Congress to rein in the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), has secured a provision in the Fiscal Year 2014 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill that would reduce funding for Transportation Security Officer uniforms by 20 percent.
Blackburn’s proposal, which is supported by Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Carter (R-TX), would cut funding by $18 million for airport screener uniforms.
“My concern and the complaint I hear most from my constituents is that despite their appearance, TSA officers do not have any federal law enforcement training to reflect their current title and appearance,” Blackburn said. “This can be very confusing to the traveling public as they interact with TSA officers at airports, on highways, rail stations, ferry terminals, bus stations, and other mass transit facilities across the country.”
When Congress created the Transportation Security Administration in 2001, TSA screeners were defined in law as Federal Security Screeners. Their role as defined by the Aviation and Transportation Security Act is to screen passengers and luggage at airports across the country. However, beginning in 2005, TSA administratively reclassified TSA Security Screeners as Transportation Security Officers and proceeded to upgrade their uniforms to reflect those of federal law enforcement officers with metal badges – despite the fact these screeners have no actual law enforcement training.
“We have an obligation to ensure that the title and appearance of federal employees properly reflects their training and background. Until we are able to pass a legislative fix to correct the TSA’s administrative decision we need to use the power of the purse to ensure that TSA screeners are not abusing the current perception that they are trained federal law enforcement officers,” Blackburn concluded.
Congressman Blackburn and Chairman Carter discussed the effort to rein in TSA during debate on the House floor: WATCH HERE