U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

Homeland Security Measures Supported by Senator Baldwin Pass Senate and Move to the President’s Desk

Common sense security measures will help keep Americans safe

By - Jul 13th, 2016 02:30 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Homeland security measures to enhance U.S. airport and mass transit security supported by U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, passed the Senate today as a part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill. The legislation passed the House earlier this week and is now headed to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“We need to adapt to the new security challenges and a threat that is changing,” said Senator Baldwin. “These new security measures will help provide the Department of Homeland Security the tools they need to respond to threats and increase security in our most vulnerable areas.”

In April, Senator Baldwin cosponsored an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill to strengthen U.S. airport security, especially in non-secure “soft” target areas at airports like check-in and baggage claim areas. The security measures would update federal security programs to provide active shooter training for law enforcement and increase the presence of federal agents with bomb-sniffing canines at these non-secure areas. They were added to the FAA Reauthorization bill after Senator Baldwin sent a letter to the leaders of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee who were negotiating the FAA Reauthorization bill.

The Baldwin-supported security reforms will:

1. Expand and Enhance Visible Deterrents (VIPR teams):

The measure doubles the number of Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams nationwide from 30 to as many as 60 and add their operations to non-sterile areas of an airport, such as outside of a check point, to enhance “soft target” security. These VIPR teams promote confidence in and protect the nation’s transportation systems through targeted deployment of TSA screening and law enforcement capabilities at transit hubs, including airports and subways, and National Special Security Events (NSSEs).  TSA works with our intelligence and law enforcement agencies to deploy these teams based on threat levels and other security priorities.

2. Provide New Funding for Law Enforcement Training Active Shooter Incidents:

The measure will create a new eligible use under SHSGP/UASI funding for training exercises to enhance preparedness for and response to active shooter incidents at public locations, including airports, mass transit systems and other “soft target” areas.

3. Strengthen Airport and Mass Transit Security in Non-Secure Areas:

The measure authorizes and makes explicit that State Homeland security funding grants (SHSGP / UASI) can be used for airport and surface transportation security in non-secure “soft” areas.

A copy of the letter is available here.

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