Budd Calls for Support for TSA Temperature Check Program

July 22, 2020 by Dan McCue
United Airlines planes are parked at Orlando International Airport. United said Tuesday, July 21 that it lost $1.63 billion in the second quarter as revenue plunged 87%, and it will operate at barely over one-third of capacity through September as the coronavirus throttles air travel. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

WASHINGTON – Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., took to the floor of the House Wednesday to urge members to support his bill requiring the Transportation Security Administration to conduct a pilot temperature screening program of all airline passengers.

Budd and Reps. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., and John Larson, D-Conn., introduced the bipartisan Healthy Skies Act earlier this month arguing that temperature screening is necessary to help keep the flying public safe.

“Reopening America should be the top priority of our government,” Budd said. “Making sure air travelers are healthy enough to fly is a common sense way to boost passenger confidence and jumpstart economic activity.”

For his part, Norman said while state and local officials work to get the nation back on its feet, air travel poses a unique challenge.

Therefore, he said, “it’s important to study and understand how TSA checkpoints might play a role in our fight against this and future pandemics.”

As currently written, the bill would require the TSA to carry out a pilot passenger screening program at a minimum of 10 airports.

Passengers would be screened before proceeding through security, and those found to have temperatures exceeding what the Centers for Disease Control defines as acceptable would not be allowed to fly.

The legislation adds, however, that the TSA administrator “shall consider a resolution process for identifying medical conditions unrelated to COVID-19 that could result in a temperature that exceeds CDC guidance.”

The bill also includes a sunset provision that would end temperature checks on the date of the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

There are, of course, those who question the reliability of temperature screening when it comes to the coronavirus.

Among them is TSA Administration David Pekoske, who said earlier this month that he’d spoken with medical professionals and the Centers for Disease Control, and his takeaway was that “temperature checks are not a guarantee that passengers who don’t have an elevated temperature also don’t have COVID-19.”

A recent report published by the government, Runway to Recovery, also questioned the reliability of temperature checks.

However, it said that airlines and airports may need to consider the use of temperature screening to meet destination requirements or requirements of local health authorities.

It also said the screening could serve as a general deterrent for passengers who may have otherwise considered traveling when ill.

“It should be noted that some persons with chronic, non-COVID related health issues may have an elevated body temperature; policies should be implemented as part of a temperature screening program to ensure such persons are not unfairly blocked from air travel if their illness does not threaten public health,” the report says.

A separate bill introduced in May by Sens. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., members of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, instructs the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Transportation to establish a joint task force to address the logistical, health, safety, and security issues arising from continued air travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

In The News

Health

Voting

Travel

Lawmakers Make Bipartisan Push to Protect the Flying Public
Travel
Lawmakers Make Bipartisan Push to Protect the Flying Public
February 10, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers is seeking to enhance the safety of the flying public by requiring airlnes to install secondary cockpit barriers on all commercial passsenger aircraft. The legislation reintroduced by Reps. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., André Carson, D-Ind., and Chris... Read More

Families Seek Exemptions to U.S., Canada Land Border Closure
Foreign Affairs
Families Seek Exemptions to U.S., Canada Land Border Closure
February 10, 2021
by Kate Michael

WASHINGTON — When it comes to COVID restrictions along America’s northern border, the United States and Canada are treating travelers rather differently. While this may not be as concerning for most general discretionary travel, bi-national families are increasingly frustrated with U.S. policies barring Canadian citizens from... Read More

Around the Globe, Virus Cancels Spring Travel for Millions
Economy
Around the Globe, Virus Cancels Spring Travel for Millions

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — They are the annual journeys of late winter and early spring: Factory workers in China heading home for the Lunar New Year; American college students going on road trips and hitting the beach over spring break; Germans and Britons fleeing drab skies... Read More

CDC Expands COVID Restrictions for International Air Travel
Travel
CDC Expands COVID Restrictions for International Air Travel
January 25, 2021
by Daniel Mollenkamp

ATLANTA - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put into effect on Tuesday a new order that mandates all air passengers into the US have taken a viral test for coronavirus infection within three days of their flight. Written documentation of either a negative test... Read More

Biden to Reinstate COVID Travel Rules, Add South Africa
Health
Biden to Reinstate COVID Travel Rules, Add South Africa

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Monday will formally reinstate COVID-19 travel restrictions on non-U.S. travelers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and 26 other European countries that allow travel across open borders, according to two White House officials. The officials, who spoke on the... Read More

US Airport Travelers Set COVID Pandemic High After Christmas Despite Surging Cases
Travel
US Airport Travelers Set COVID Pandemic High After Christmas Despite Surging Cases

The number of air travelers in the United States soared to a pandemic high on Sunday despite the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases. A whopping 1,284,599 travelers were recorded at checkpoints by the Travel Security Administration on Sunday, marking the largest single-day total since mid-March, when... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top