Capitol Hill Resists Union's Call for Armed TSA Agents

Capitol Hill Resists Union's Call for Armed TSA Agents

On November 5, the union that represents Transportation Security Administration agents called for a “new class of [TSA] officer who is trained as a law enforcement officer.” But Republicans and Democrats alike were uncomfortable with the idea.

This new class of officer would be armed and given arrest powers, but according to Politico, Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) “opposes arming the TSA’s massive screener workforce.” Instead, he wants to focus on “coordination and communication between TSA and local police,” who are already tasked with protecting airports. 

Hudson also wants to “review TSA’s own program for detecting and disrupting terror attacks.”

On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) believes training and equipping a whole new class of TSA agents would simply be too expensive. He also believes a focus on checkpoints alone is misplaced. He thinks the focus should be on securing the airport as a whole.

In addition to Hudson and Richmond, many conservative representatives have been working for two years to get TSA agents to stop referring to themselves as “officers” to begin with rather than expanding their policing powers. They have also been working to prohibit them from wearing badges that make them look like law enforcement. 

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins.