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Jaime Herrera Beutler Urges TSA to Adhere to Rules Allowing Air Passengers to Travel with Breast Milk and Formula

Co-chairs of Congressional Maternity Care Caucus Herrera Beutler, Roybal-Allard counter inconsistent security enforcement procedures that are penalizing parents

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Washington, DC, March 24, 2016 | comments
Yesterday, U.S. Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), co-chairs of the Congressional Maternity Care Caucus, sent a letter to the Transportation Security Authority (TSA) urging full compliance with a current liquids exemption for mothers and passengers traveling with breastmilk and formula.
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Yesterday, U.S. Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), co-chairs of the Congressional Maternity Care Caucus, sent a letter to the Transportation Security Authority (TSA) urging full compliance with a current liquids exemption for mothers and passengers traveling with breastmilk and formula.

Despite the exemption already being listed under TSA’s Special Procedures, parents often complain of inconsistent, harassment-like scrutiny from TSA employees and often being forced to dispose of breastmilk, formula and cooling packs in order to proceed through TSA security. Click here to read the reports of several of these accounts.

The text of the letter follows, and a PDF of the original letter is available here:

Administrator Neffenger:

As co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Maternity Care, we would like to follow up on an important issue that directly relates to the duties of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Department of Homeland Security. As you know, under TSA’s Special Procedures for traveling with children, travelers are explicitly permitted to bring formula and breast milk in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces in carry-on baggage on board an aircraft (3-1-1 Liquids Rule Exemption). Under this exemption, travelers may also carry on ice packs, freezer packs, frozen gel packs and other accessories required to prevent formula and breast milk from spoiling. Additionally, travelers are not required to fit these liquids and cooling accessories within a quart-sized bag. While we are pleased that TSA has put this protection in place for mothers and caretakers, we have been notified of several instances where TSA has not properly followed this policy. In several cases, individuals were forced to dispose of breast milk, cooling accessories, or both in order to board their flights.

These reports demonstrate a problem with implementation of the 3-1-1 Liquids Rule Exemption travel policy in TSA’s airports and among airline and security officials. For the well-being of these infants and children passengers, it is important that there is full compliance with the existing liquids exemption. Particularly on long flights, caretakers and parents depend on security agents to properly allow these vital forms of nutrition through security checkpoints and on board aircrafts.

We appreciate the attention you have shown toward our shared concern and the work you are doing to ensure compliance with the exemption. We ask that you keep us informed of progress on this issue that is of great importance to families in our districts and across the nation. If this issue remains unresolved we will begin to consider legislative fixes.

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