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Maxine W.
Democrat CA 43

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  • Gerardo Hernandez Airport Security Act of 2015

    by Representative Maxine Waters

    Posted on 2015-02-10

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    WATERS of California. I thank the gentlewoman for the time.

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to support H.R. 720, the Gerardo Hernandez Airport Security Act of 2015. I would like to thank Congressman John Katko, the chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation Security of the House Committee on Homeland Security, for reintroducing this bill. I was proud to join him as an original cosponsor.

    I would like to thank Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, Ranking Member Bennie Thompson, and our Subcommittee Ranking Member Kathleen Rice for supporting this bill and bringing it to the floor for a vote.

    Mr. Speaker, this bipartisan bill was originally introduced last year in response to the horrific November 1, 2013, shooting incident at Los Angeles International Airport in my congressional district.

    This bill is named in honor of Gerardo Hernandez, the Transportation Security officer who was killed in the line of duty on that tragic day. As we debate this bill, we offer our deepest condolences to the family of Gerardo Hernandez, and we honor all of the TSOs, police officers, and other first responders who risked their lives to stabilize the situation and protect the public during that terrible incident.

    Following the LAX shooting incident, Congress conducted several hearings on the incident, including a field hearing in my district on March 28, 2014. These hearings revealed serious security lapses which interfered with response efforts, such as emergency phones and panic buttons that did not work properly, problems in coordination between various police and fire departments, and incompatible radio systems. These security failures are unacceptable.

    The Gerardo Hernandez Airport Security Act requires the Department of Homeland Security to conduct outreach to airports to verify that they have working plans to respond to security incidents, including active shooter incidents, acts of terrorism, and incidents that target passenger screening checkpoints like the one where Officer Hernandez was killed.

    {time} 1730 It is imperative that major airports like LAX have state-of-the-art emergency response systems. The safety and security of our Nation's airports, and of all of the workers and travelers who pass through them, is of paramount importance. I urge my colleagues to support this bill and send it to the President's desk.

    Miss RICE of New York. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    Mr. Speaker, in closing, I would like to thank Subcommittee Chairman Katko for the bipartisan, inclusive, and constructive way in which he has conducted the subcommittee's response to this incident. I am proud to join Ranking Member Thompson and Chairman McCaul as an original cosponsor of H.R. 720. This is bipartisan legislation that was unanimously passed by the House last Congress, and I urge my colleagues to do the same with this bill.

    I strongly believe that with our votes today, we will not only honor the life of Officer Hernandez, we have the opportunity to save lives, be they transportation security officers, airport workers, or members of the flying public. At the end of the day, saving those lives is the best way we can honor Officer Hernandez and his family. I once again urge my colleagues to pass this bill.

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