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Capital Hill Watch Alert

Aviation Security Bills Conference Committee

House Aviation Security Bills

The House of Representatives stopped the expansion of big government under the guise of security with the passage of the Secure Transportation for America Act of 2001 (H.R. 3150) by a vote of 286-139.The measure, based on a proven model of air traffic security used in Europe and Israel, will be quicker to implement than an alternative Senate bill (S. 1447)Ė which could take a full year, at minimum, to set in motion.

From the standpoint of security, European airports are particularly skilled at screening passengers.In the last decade, Europe has experienced only four hijackings.

This legislation gives the government the flexibility to facilitate the transition to a new security system with private contractors, to promote better screening through competition, and to empower security managers to swiftly discipline or remove employees failing to meet rigorous new standards.†††

Senate Aviation Security Act†††††††††††

Despite misgivings among some Senate Republicans about its authorization of an all-federal work force at the nationís 420 commercial airports, the Senate passed its own version of the air traffic security bill called the Aviation Security Act (S. 1447) by a 100-0 vote on October 11, 2001.

Limited screening is provided by the Senate bill, overlooking thousands of caterers, cleaners, refuelers and others lacking mandatory background checks or secure I.D. cards.The Senate measure also ignores the fact that in one out of every three attempts federal investigators have been able to breach security and gain access to tarmac.

At times, incompetent or untrustworthy employees would have to be disciplined and, if necessary, fired.If an employee is a federal civil servant, this could be difficult to do.Flexibility would be required when employees require reassignment or are retired because of positions that are eliminated by new technology.In a federal civil-service bureaucracy, this would often be too difficult to do.

In size and design, passenger airports vary vastly.Unfortunately, what is likely to be a poor solution to many airports security problems is a one-size-fits-all mandated solutions since the answer for implementing more affordable and effective security as of yet has not been developed.For example, the cost and effectiveness for many of the possible security solutions such as biometric ID cards for employees and frequent fliers, sophisticated profiling of high-risk individuals and superior X-ray machines has not yet been determined.

The alternative Senate bill would increase the Washington bureaucracy, empower unions, and in a federal civil service bureaucracy would make it almost impossible to eliminate incompetent and untrustworthy employees.It would also do little to answer the problems of implementing affordable and effective security.

On November 7, 2001, the House and Senate lawmakers opened negotiations for the House-Senate Conference Committee on thecompeting aviation security legislation (H.R. 3150; S 1447).


What Can You Do?

Contact the following Conference Committee members (Contact House members designated with (*) ; and all the listed Senators) and urge them to support the legislation set-forth in H.R. 3150 as the basis for an aviation security legislation.

* Voted Against H.R. 3150(Contact these and ask to support H.R. 3150)

House Republican Conferees 

1. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska)

2. Rep. Thomas E. Petri (R-Wisconsin)

3. Rep. John J. Duncan (R-Tennesse)

4. Rep. John Mica (R-Florida)

5. Rep. VernonEhlers (R-Michigan)

 House Democrat Conferees

1. Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-Minnesota)*

2. Rep. William O. Lipinski (D-Illinois)

3. Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Oregon)*

Senate Democrat Conferees 

1. Senator Ernest F. Hollings (D-South Carolina)

2. Senator Daniel K.Inouye,(D-Hawaii)

3. Senator John D. Rockefeller (D-West Virginia)

4. Senator JohnF. Kerry (D-Massachusetts)

5.   Senator John B. Breaux (D-Louisiana)

6. Senator Byron L. Dorgan (D-North Dakota)

7. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon)

Senate Republican Conferees 

1. Senator McCain (R-Arizona)

2. Senator TedStevens (R-Alaska)

3. Senator Conrad Burns (R-Montana)

4. Senator Trent Lott (R-Mississippi)

5. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)

6. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine)


Contact Information:

Capitol Hill Switchboard Numbers: 202-225-3121 or 202-224-3121 (Those numbers will direct you to the Capitol Hill operator. Ask for the representative's and senatorís office.)

House of Representatives:

To go to your representative's website, find his E-mail or to find out who your representatives are... http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.html

To electronically mail your U.S. House of Representative, go to http://www.house.gov/htbin/wrep_findrep.

Addressing Correspondence:

The Honorable (full name)
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative (last name):


To go to your senators' websites, find their E-mail or to find out who your senators are... http://www.senate.gov/contacting/index_by_state.cfm

Addressing Correspondence:

The Honorable (full name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator (last name):

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