Thursday, June 2, 2011

No new scanners

So says our Congress:
The legislation cuts off funding for new advanced airport scanners that have sparked outrage over their revealing images of travelers' bodies. The measure denies the administration's $76 million request for an additional 275 scanners.
Budgetary factors rather than protests from privacy advocates sparked the cut. The Transportation Security Administration is trying hard to modify the machines so that they won't produce revealing images, but the software isn't yet ready.
The underlying measure wouldn't affect the 500 or so machines already in place at 78 of the nation's airports or the 500 just funded in a recent spending bill.
Unfortunately, they aren't cutting the entire TSA out of the homeland security funding... that would save even money and better protect citizens!

Related provisions that were in different variations of this bill are:

An amendment by Reps. Justin Amash, R-Mich., and Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, to prohibit TSA from relying on the advanced screening machines as the primary means of screening passengers was defeated 300-123.
The measure would also take away collective bargaining rights from the nation's 44,000 airport screeners.
TSA head John Pistole had agreed in February to grant screeners limited union rights for the first time since the agency was formed a decade ago. But Republicans have complained that giving the workers union rights could jeopardize security. TSA workers are in the process of voting for which of two federal unions to represent them.
The House voted 218-205 in favor of an amendment that would effectively override Pistole's decision by prohibiting use of federal funds for collective bargaining for the workers. That provision is expected to face stiff resistance in the Democratic-controlled Senate.