House homeland panel reverses field on baggage-screening deadline

The House Select Homeland Security Committee reversed itself Friday, first voting to retain a year-end deadline for the Transportation Security Administration to implement baggage-sreeening systems at airports, then later accepting an amendment shifting the deadline to Dec. 31, 2003.

Friday morning, the committee accepted, on a 6-3 vote, an amendment offered by Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Robert Menendez of New Jersey to keep the current deadline for setting up explosive-detection systems at airports. The deadline was included in the legislation creating the TSA last fall.

House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, who drafted the homeland security legislation and chairs the ad hoc committee, tucked a provision into the legislation Thursday that would have removed the deadline.

Friday, Armey said his decision was a tough one, but it was "the right one"-and one he could make because he plans to retire at the end of the year. But Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts of Oklahoma and Rep. Deborah Pryce, R-Ohio, joined Democrats in voting to strip the language from the bill.

Later, though, Watts backed a measure to shift the deadline for implementing explosive-detection systems as far back as March 31, 2004. Republicans argued that the current deadline was simply unrealistic and would require airports to implement inferior systems.

"We want the best technology in airports as possible," said House Majority Whip Tom Delay, R-Texas.

But the amendment drew the ire of Democrats on the panel. Currently, "very little baggage gets checked [for explosives]," said Menendez. "The overwhelming percentage goes unchecked. That's why Congress overwhelmingly voted to have deadlines-to keep those people's feet to the fire to produce those explosive detection devices as soon as possible."

In the end, though, the panel voted 6-3 to accept a compromise offered by Rep. Martin Frost, D-Texas, to shift the deadline to Dec. 31, 2003.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.