Kentucky Senator Rand Paul said that there is “great bipartisan support” for this bill, which would privatize airport security across the country. Paul sat down with about two dozen policy experts and small business owners Wednesday afternoon on Capitol Hill to discuss the bill.
Last January, Paul grabbed news headlines after his father, Rep. Ron Paul tweeted that his son had been detained by a TSA agent at the Nashville, Tennessee airport. The tweet reported that Rand Paul was being “detained by the TSA for refusing a full body pat-down.”
After the incident, Congressmen and Congresswoman on both side of the aisle empathized with Paul. “Every Democrat said hello to me,” after the incident Paul said. “They said, ‘We’ve got to do something about the TSA.’”
Senate Bill 3303 would largely force federal employees to step down from being the enforcer of airport security, and it would “require that screening of passengers at airports be conducted by employees of a private screening company.”
Paul said the idea behind this proposal was to rid the TSA and to provide “simple security oversight”, for private industry to compete for airport security jobs all across the country with the idea that private industry can do a more effective and efficient job than the federal government.
The TSA has previously conducted two studies, finding that private security screeners were 17.4 and 3 percent more expensive than the current government system. However, the GAO, or Government Accountability Office, has challenged the factors and the methods used in each of those reports.
The panel of members and Paul, both agreed that the introduction of a frequent flyer system, where travelers that travel quite frequently could be “fast-passed” based on their established low security safety record was needed to improve congestion at airport security.
“My point all along has been we’re less safe by treating everyone equally as a terrorist,” Paul said Wednesday.
The roundtable was hosted by Business Coalition for Fair competition and attendees discussed other issues that were relevant to the government “competing” with private businesses as well as some potential legislation that would limit the travel expenditures of lobbyists, which is currently unlimited. However the main goal of the panel yesterday was to discuss how to get the bill out of committee and onto the Senate Floor for a vote.
Paul added that he is confident about the possibilities and outcome of the bill, because he has received a high number of letters from his constituents about the TSA, and has discussed the issue thoroughly with his colleagues.
“All you have to do is be a frequent traveler and you’re in favor of doing something about the TSA,” he said. “I think the bill could pass.”