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Jaime Herrera Beutler’s Bipartisan Bill to Aid Parents Traveling with Infants Approved by Congressional Committee

The BABES Act, requiring TSA to better assist parents traveling with breastmilk and formula, advances in Congress; next step is a vote by full U.S. House

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Washington, D.C. , September 13, 2016 | comments
Today, U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler’s Bottles and Breastfeeding Equipment Screening Act (BABES Act) was marked up by the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee.
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Today, U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler’s Bottles and Breastfeeding Equipment Screening Act (BABES Act) was marked up by the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee. The BABES Act requires the Transit Security Administration (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 bipartisan legislation.  The Committee advanced the legislation unanimously.

Jaime made the following statement in support of her legislation which was submitted to the congressional record for this markup:

“I would like to extend my thanks to the Chairman and Ranking Member for their support of H.R.5065, the Bottles and Breastfeeding Equipment Screening Act. Air travel can present unique challenges for parents, especially travelling with infants. While TSA already has guidelines in place allowing parents to take breastmilk, bottles, and feeding equipment through security and on-board the aircraft, there have been too many instances reported by parents where TSA officials did not know how to properly handle these items, which led to parents and families receiving harassment-like scrutiny.  Too often, these actions have led to missed flights, wasted milk, broken equipment, and other unnecessary and completely avoidable consequences. A family who is trying to follow TSA’s posted regulations shouldn’t have precious infant food thrown away and be forced to navigate travel delays. This is why I introduced the BABES Act, a commonsense measure to hold TSA accountable to uphold and follow its existing standards.  Through better training, TSA can make sure that families aren’t being penalized simply for traveling with equipment necessary to feed their infants.”

Background

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.

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

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