Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) proposed a bill last week that would allow Congress members and their families the ability to request airport escorts while travelling.
The legislation would require the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to provide private security to lawmakers and limited family members and make the screening process quicker without any delay — at no cost.
The bill would also apply to federal judges and Cabinet members, along with limited family members and staff. Cruz would attach the bill to the existing Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act.
The bill comes after an increase in threats toward lawmakers as they travel and while at home. According to U.S. Capitol Police, there were 8,000 reported threats investigated in 2023, a huge increase from the 500 investigated in 2022. It is expected that there will be increased threats this year, especially with it being an election year.
While the extra security would be beneficial considering the increased amount of threats, there are some critics of the bill. Kevin Murphy, the head of the Airport Law Enforcement Agencies Network, stated that it would be “a burden to airport police agencies,” considering there are already issues with the budget.
Annie Russo, chief political and congressional strategy officer for Airports Council International-North America, also reported that the measure would burden airport staff.
She said in a statement that airports are seeing “continued cuts to federal security programs that help support local law enforcement staffing,” and as a result “many airports do not have the resources that would be required to facilitate this sort of operation on a full-time basis.”
Some believe that Cruz proposed the bill as a result of photos being leaked of him back in 2021 in an airport on the way to Cancun with his family while his fellow Texans faced deadly freezing temperatures. Even though he has continuously apologized for the error in judgment, the incident is still mentioned.
Cruz told Politico that his reason for the bill was due to his concern over the safety of lawmakers.
Sen. Ted Cruz, is proposing legislation that would provide lawmakers with a dedicated security escort and expedited airport screening, potentially making their travel less visible to the public.https://t.co/UPp7bRXiQO https://t.co/XRRHAroWXi
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) February 3, 2024
There are “serious security threats facing public officials,” Cruz said last week. “It’s important that we take reasonable measures to keep everyone safe.”