Bachus pushing amendment to allow troops speedier passage through airport security

Posted by Tom Gordon -- Birmingham News May 21, 2009 5:13 P

U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Vestavia Hills, is pushing a measure that will allow American service members speedier passage through U.S. airport security.

The measure is an amendment to the Transportation Security Administration Authorization Act. According to Bachus' office, the House Rules Committee today agreed to allow the amendment to be considered when the TSA Authorization Act comes up for a full House vote in June. Bachus and Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kansas, are the chief sponsors of the amendment.

"Our men and women in uniform do so much for us," Bachus said in a statement released by his office. "The least we can do for them as they rush through airports loaded down with heavy gear is to establish a faster but fully protective way for them to pass through security. There is no group that deserves this consideration more than the dedicated men and women who serve in the U.S. military."

According to Bachus' office, the amendment would require the Transportation Security Administration "to establish an expedited screening process" for uniformed service members traveling on official orders, and set up "a more efficient screening procedure for heavy military gear."

"Family members accompanying service personnel would be eligible for processing through the same expedited system," Bachus' office stated. The process would apply to members of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, the reserve components of each service branch, as well as to the Army National Guard and Air National Guard.

The improved legislative outlook for the TSA Act amendment came on the eve of the travel-heavy Memorial Day weekend. Bachus said large numbers service members on official orders use "commercial flights for at least a portion of their trips."

The U.S. has nearly 1.4 million servicemen and servicewomen on active duty and another 1.5 million in the guard and reserve, Bachus' office said.