The Senate will be moving forward with a proposal from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that would allow public officials to receive special treatment when going through airport security, Politico reports.
In Cruz’s amendment, a public official who would receive special treatment includes federal judges, members of Congress and Cabinet members who have been the “subject of a threat.” It also would extend to the person’s family members and some of their staff members.
If approved, the measure would mean the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) would provide security escorts at commercial airports without any “imposition of costs or other fees.” Transportation officials told Politico that a previous version of the amendment would be a burden to agencies that are already struggling.
Although the amendment and bill have more steps before becoming law, Cruz celebrated the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill being marked up at a hearing Thursday. He did not address the amendment specifically but spoke to the issues facing the FAA.
“It has been a long road with ‘delays’ and a little bit of ‘turbulence,’ but I am glad we have reached a compromise and are marking up this bill,” Cruz said before the Senate Commerce Committee.
Cruz said the bill comes at a time when challenges facing the aviation industry have “been acutely clear.” He noted the recent Alaska Airlines incident where a door panel blew off mid-flight and an increase in near-misses of planes on runways.
The portion of the bill that would allow public figures to have a security escort follows a highly publicized incident in Feb. 2021, when Cruz flew to Cancun, Mexico while millions in Texas were stranded in freezing temperatures without power or running water.
Photos of Cruz at a Houston airport with his family on the way to their vacation went viral and drew outrage from people who said he should remain in his state and address the issue.
Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) reportedly warned about the implications of the measure, saying it could set a “very dangerous precedent to exempt a class of people from security processes that are essential for our national security,” reports Politico.
The Hill has reached out to Cruz’s office for further comment.
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