Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Transportation Security Administration Authorization Act

Jun 4, 2009
Floor Speech

Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Chairman, I rise to speak in strong support of H.R. 2200, the Transportation Security Administration Authorization Act, as this is a necessary piece of legislation that is long overdue. In fact, we have never fully authorized the TSA since the enactment of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001.

I want to particularly thank Mr. Thompson, who chaired this and led this legislation through committee; along with PETER KING, the ranking member; Ms. Jackson-Lee as the subcommittee chairwoman; and Mr. Dent from Pennsylvania. I want to congratulate all of them for working hard to have a bipartisan piece of legislation.

We recognize that the safety of the American people must be our number one job. Nothing that we do here can supercede that.

The bill authorizes $7.6 billion in fiscal year 2010 and $8.1 billion in fiscal 2011 for the activities of the TSA, including key increases, many of which have already been mentioned.

As an original member of the Homeland Security Committee, one thing I observed was that ever since TSA was created in 2001, its focus has been almost solely on aviation security, to the detriment of surface transportation taken by millions of Americans each day.

A strong aspect of this legislation is beginning to put surface transportation security on an equal footing with aviation security, with key surface transportation security enhancements.

I'm glad to see that this authorization also addresses the long unattended issue of airport perimeter security, whose vulnerability to infiltration I have tried to highlight for many years. I think that this is important. We're looking at it. We're studying this issue so we do not overreact but make sure that the perimeters are just as much protected as the inside.

The CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.

Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. I yield the gentleman an additional 30 seconds.

Mr. PASCRELL. I think all of us should read Secretary Napolitano's speech yesterday at Aspen, where there were bipartisan group folks studying the security of this country. She laid out five principal areas of concern if we're going to protect America and its neighborhoods. It is a great guidepost to inclusive security. I ask that we do this.

I also ask to consider, Mr. Chairman, in the future the issue and the quality of resilience, which Joshua Cooper Ramo presented in his book which was just published in March. If we truly want to protect America, what about the resiliency and how much can we take that into consideration, God forbid we have another attack.