U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is hoping to protect his fellow lawmakers when they travel through America’s airports.
The Texas Republican is pushing legislation that would provide “lawmakers a dedicated security escort at airports, along with expedited screening outside of public view,” Politico reported.
“That could make it much less likely that the politicians’ comings and goings would become fodder for embarrassing news reports and late-night comedy mockery,” the outlet added. “The measure would also provide the same special treatment to federal judges and Cabinet members, as well as a limited number of their family and staff.”
Cruz was infamously criticized when a photo of him at an airport en route to Cancun, Mexico was posted online. At the time, Texas was facing a disastrous winter storm in 2021 and Cruz was called out for abandoning his duties to get away with his family.
As you can see, Ted has no security in the airport even though there were numerous threats from angry Texans. pic.twitter.com/2fEmRsdDW8
— fritzie urquhart (@fritzie4art) February 3, 2024
The senator told Politico that there are “serious security threats facing public officials,”
“It’s important that we take reasonable measures to keep everyone safe,” he added.
The proposed measure would be an amendment to S. 1939, an aviation policy bill that is scheduled for mark-up Thursday by the Senate Commerce Committee. According to a draft, the added airport security would be offered to any of the parties who are or have “been the subject of a threat.”
According to Politico:
Political leaders’ air travels could become harder to decipher under Cruz’s draft language, which was obtained by POLITICO. The amendment would mandate that the TSA help “arrange” a security escort — which the provision says could be local law enforcement — for “the entirety of the time” the VIPs are at an airport. In addition, it would grant lawmakers under protective escort the ability to be screened without delay.
“This language was drafted in a bipartisan manner to address the growing number of serious threats to justices, judges, public officials and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle,” Senate Republican Commerce Committee spokeswoman Melissa Braid told Newsweek. “With rising security incidents at airports, this amendment ensures that—when law enforcement determines that there is a serious threat—reasonable security measures will be taken to keep everybody safe.”
But Kevin Murphy, executive director of the Airport Law Enforcement Agencies Network, warned that the bill would create “a burden to airport police agencies,” as the TSA would be responsible for coordinating the escorts. He told Politico that it would also divert police from “crime suppression and security functions at airports, which is our fundamental duty.”
“The Capitol Police maintain a protective detail for congressional leadership on- and off-site, but most rank and file members don’t receive one unless they are the subject of a credible threat,” Politico noted. “Though the draft tasks TSA with the escort duty, it gives the agency an out by specifying that it can simply ‘arrange’ for the escort — including tapping local law enforcement, which would ultimately bear any cost burden in that instance.”
Not everyone seems to be on board with making politicians a protected caste as they travel while the regular folk continue to deal with the Transportation Security Administration, which was launched in 2001 in the wake of 9/11.
Cruz’s proposed bill sparked debate on X where many called out what they saw as hypocrisy and special privilege for lawmakers who are already afforded travel liberties that average travelers are not. But others supported the idea, especially in the current climate of political tensions, and headed into an important presidential election.
Ted Cruz is seeking special treatment to help him slip away to Cancun undetected. https://t.co/nAygSY3Z6F
— Mark Jacob (@MarkJacob16) February 3, 2024
Keep the riff raff commoners away from Prince Ted. https://t.co/4RceUjkQCr
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) February 3, 2024
I don’t generally support unnecessary spending of taxpayer dollars but I kind of support this. In these days of social media and 24/7 news, our lawmakers are much more visible and recognizable and our world has become more dangerous and contentious especially at political level.
— Gerrit Cramer (@cramer_gerrit) February 3, 2024
Why not a bill that makes TSA suck less for everyone?
— supremeMilo (@supremeMilo) February 3, 2024
So much for representatives being among the people they are supposed to represent.
— Interested Citizen (@InterestedCiti5) February 3, 2024
That is the antitheses of what needs to happen. Lawmakers work for us. They often don’t even hold town halls with their constituents. If he wants security, he can pay for it himself. No more insulation from the voters at the voter’s expense.
— Reasonable Guy (@ReasonableGuy47) February 3, 2024
Introducing legislation to enhance the security measures for lawmakers is a significant step towards ensuring their safety. However, it’s essential to balance security needs with transparency and accountability to the public, especially regarding elected officials’ travel…
— Muhammad Shafiq (@mshafiq1043) February 3, 2024
I would normally oppose something like this because the representatives of the people are supposed to be just that no better no worse. In this Bizzaro World we live in today it probably isn’t a bad idea to allow these SERVANTS an expedited process.
— GDM (@Bigmanuger1953) February 3, 2024
No! They’re no better than their constituents. They need to remember they are employed by We The People!
— Anne Hyatt (@estencooke) February 4, 2024