Budd Calls for Support for TSA Temperature Check Program
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
WASHINGTON -- A top Transportation Security Administration official gave an upbeat outlook to Congress Wednesday for a return to normal travel habits as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides in the United States. He said the agency would continue its pandemic health and safety procedures but did not... Read More
A recent "trends" report from Airbnb suggests that the ongoing roll out of the coronavirus vaccine is spurring a renewed interest in travel, particularly when it comes to "open air" or "off-the-grid" locations. In fact, the online rental marketplace said it is witnessing something of a... Read More
WASHINGTON — As the industry continues to rally back from the lifting of pandemic travel restrictions, some passenger airline companies are still struggling to retain full-time employees. February employment figures for airlines were down nearly 1% from January, according to a monthly report by the Department... Read More
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. economy is continuing its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic but not fast enough for tourism officials who testified before a Senate subcommittee Tuesday. They said their industry was the hardest hit during the pandemic shutdown and will be one of the slowest... Read More
WASHINGTON - U.S. airlines carried 61% fewer passengers in February 2021 than in February 2020, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Transportation Department. The analysis, which was carried out by the department's Bureau of Transportation Statistics, suggests airlines serving U.S. passengers are still a long... Read More
Boeing's massive aircraft assembly facility in North Charleston, S.C. has resumed deliveries of the aerospace giant's 787 Dreamliner passenger jet, after the discovery of structural flaws in some of the planes led to five months of engineering analysis and inspection work. "Our commitment to safety and... Read More