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Stronger Crude-by-Rail Response Efforts, Improved TSA Assistance for Parents Championed by Jaime Herrera Beutler Advanced by Congressional Committee

Jaime-authored provisions are included in Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill

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Washington, DC, June 22, 2016 | comments
Today, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee advanced its Homeland Security funding bill that includes two provisions authored by Jaime to improve oil train accident response capabilities, and direct TSA to better serve parents traveling with food for infants.
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Today, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee advanced its Homeland Security funding bill that includes two provisions authored by Jaime to improve oil train accident response capabilities, and direct TSA to better serve parents traveling with food for infants.

The 2017 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill also funds critical programs such as aviation security, border and immigration enforcement, protection against cyberterrorism, natural disaster response, and efforts to stop the smuggling of drugs and people into the U.S. 

“I’m pleased that this bill helps equip firefighters and first responders with the specialized hazmat equipment needed to adequately respond to an oil train accident,” said Jaime. “Being prepared for an oil-by-rail accident should absolutely be a ‘high priority’ for FEMA, and I’m working to make sure this federal agency treats it as such.”

“And now that we’re in summer travel season, it’s important that Congress continues to advance my efforts to allow parents with children to travel without being harassed,” Jaime continued. “Parents traveling with infants have enough challenges without being hassled and delayed by TSA agents.  This bill corresponds with the BABES Act, which would make both current and future TSA agents more accountable through better training, and more helpful to families who are currently being punished even though they’re trying to follow the rules.”

Improving response efforts in Southwest Washington to oil train accidents
The bill includes a legislative provision adapted from Jaime’s FD PREP Act that advises the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to categorize hazmat operations, training, and equipment related to crude-by-rail incident response as “high priority” within its Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program.

Currently, the AFG program does not consider equipment and training specifically for train derailment incidents as being high priority grant applications.  These grants are intended to provide resources for our local fire departments in order to improve the health and safety of the public and protect firefighting personnel, including volunteers and emergency medical service personnel. With this bill, these resources will be more readily available to our first responders. 

Improving TSA’s screening of parents traveling with breastmilk and formula
The bill also includes language adapted from Jaime’s BABES Act legislation that directs TSA to better support air passengers traveling with breastmilk, formula and infant feeding equipment. With this bill, the TSA must report to Congress on its efforts to ensure that screening agents consistently comply with its own regulations to not harass or unnecessarily delay parents traveling with children and who are adhering to its policies regarding infant food.

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 passengers 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.

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