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Jaime Herrera Beutler Introduces Bill Requiring TSA to Better Assist Parents Traveling with Breastmilk and Formula

Jaime is joined by Democrat Rep. Rice and Republican Rep. Katko to introduce BABES Act to counter inconsistent TSA actions that punish parents, infants

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Washington, April 27, 2016 | comments
This week, U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) introduced the Bottles and Breastfeeding Equipment Screening Act (BABES Act) that requires TSA to better support air passengers traveling with breastmilk, formula and infant feeding equipment.
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This week, U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) introduced the Bottles and Breastfeeding Equipment Screening Act (BABES Act) that requires TSA to better support air passengers traveling with breastmilk, formula and infant feeding equipment. Jaime partnered with Homeland Security Transportation Security Subcommittee Chairman and Ranking Member, John Katko (R-NY) and Kathleen Rice (D-NY) to introduce this legislation. 

While TSA’s current Special Procedures already explicitly permit parents traveling with infants to bring formula and breast milk that exceed the 3-1-1 Liquids Rule for carry-on baggage, many have experienced inconsistent harassment-like scrutiny that resulted in significant travel interruptions, broken equipment and wasted food. Click here to read the reports of several of these accounts.

Last month, Jaime led a bipartisan letter to TSA outlining these concerns. Since then, TSA has responded with a detailed action plan to better train TSA employees to accommodate passengers traveling with breast milk. Click here to read TSA’s response. To ensure that TSA maintains this commitment to ongoing education of its workforce, Jaime is joining with Representatives John Katko (R-NY) and Kathleen Rice (D-NY) to codify this into law through introduction of the BABES Act.

The BABES Act directs the TSA to provide ongoing training so that its agents consistently enforce current procedures across all airport security checkpoints to better accommodate parents who are adhering to the regulations listed on TSA’s website.

“I’m pleased by TSA’s prompt response to my letter to close the gap between its written procedures to accommodate parents and infants, and the actual enforcement of those procedures,” said Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beuter (WA-03). “The agency appears to be taking the proper steps to fix this problem, but it’s important that Congress requires TSA to maintain this priority in the future for new hires and retraining activities.  Parents traveling with infants who try to follow the rules don’t deserve to be harassed by TSA, and the BABES Act will help ensure that the agency provides families with reasonable, consistent treatment.”   

Congressman John Katko (NY-24) said, “As Chairman of the Transportation Security Subcommittee, I have worked tirelessly to ensure that the TSA is effectively screening passengers and implementing its policies in a clear and consistent manner.  Most importantly however, as a father, a husband, and a brother of five sisters, I have the utmost respect and admiration for the critical role that mothers play in providing nutrition to their children and this legislation will help ensure that our security framework does not interfere with that.”

“As we work to constantly improve security and efficiency at our airports, an important part of that effort is ensuring that there’s consistency between TSA’s written policies and the reality of what passengers experience on the ground at security checkpoints,” said Representative Kathleen Rice (NY-04). “The rules are clear, and parents who follow those rules should be able to carry the supplies they need to care for their children without the risk of having their travel plans disrupted or delayed. This bipartisan legislation will help ensure that TSA makes a lasting commitment to provide the training and oversight needed to accommodate the needs of parents traveling with infants.”

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