Rep. Ted Budd Leads Letter Urging TSA Temperature Checks During COVID-19

Washington, D.C. -- Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows urging him to express White House support for a new policy at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to check the temperatures of all airline passengers at the screening checkpoint. The policy would be temporary during the COVID-19 pandemic and would help ensure a safer re-opening of the United States.

The letter was co-signed by Reps. Bill Posey, Denver Riggleman, Andy Harris, Chip Roy, Dan Bishop, Paul Gosar, Ralph Norman, Ted Yoho, David Schweikert, Randy Weber, Jody Hice, and Michael Cloud.

Text of the letter is pasted below:

As Members of Congress who strongly support the Trump Administration’s robust response to the monumental health and economic crises created by COVID-19, we write to ask for your leadership on an additional measure that will mitigate spread of the virus while also helping to restore our economy.  This important layer would be aviation passenger temperature screenings, performed on a temporary basis, by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

In light of the terrible impact that this invisible enemy has had on our great nation, it is integral that our economy continues to have the Administration’s full support in safely reopening.  Before the pandemic, commercial aviation drove 5% of U.S. GDP and helped to support 10.4 million U.S. jobs – and it remains an industry with an outsized ability to sustain a much-needed recovery.  A strong domestic commercial aviation system that moves people and cargo efficiently across our country is needed to support the scores of other industries which depend on these services to create jobs and drive our economy.

Having TSA temporarily screen passengers for elevated temperatures, while ensuring that travelers with unrelated medical issues causing elevated temperatures can still travel, has a number of practical advantages.  First, it ensures that regardless of where a passenger travels or on which air carrier, they experience a consistent nationwide process that identifies passengers with elevated temperatures while also creating a disincentive for those who know they may be sick from attempting to travel.  Second, it provides an additional layer of protection, which combined with the enhanced sanitation policies being implemented by airlines and at airports, increases the health safety of air travel – and travelers’ confidence in returning to the skies. 

Finally, adding temporary temperature screening to TSA’s toolkit will also ensure their preparedness for any future health pandemics that threaten American lives and prosperity.  If implementing this small, commonsense measure today helps to protect us from a future contagion that takes thousands of American lives, decimates millions of American jobs and necessitates trillions of dollars of federal investment to relieve its impact on our nation, then there are few identifiable measures today that could be more important for safeguarding our future.

We appreciate your steadfast leadership and attention to this matter.

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