WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, convened a hearing to consider the pending nomination of David P. Pekoske to continue serving as Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Lawmakers heard from Pekoske about his plans to continue protecting travelers and transportation facilities across the country. Peters highlighted important role the TSA plays to safeguard our nation and the need for this agency to have qualified leadership that will work to support TSA workforce, including frontline officers, as they work to carry out their essential mission. During the hearing, Peters raised concerns he has heard from communities – including Michigan’s Muslim and Arab American communities – about challenges they continue to face during the travel screening process.
“Over twenty years ago, the Transportation Security Administration was established in response to the September 11th terrorist attacks, to carry out the essential mission of ensuring that travelers are safe and secure,” said Peters during his opening statement. “This is a significant undertaking and it wouldn’t be possible without our dedicated, frontline TSA staff – who work hard each and every day to ensure our transportation system’s safety, but especially throughout a national pandemic.”
To watch video of Senator Peters’ questions, click here.
During the hearing, Peters asked Pekoske about what actions he is taking to address concerns raised by Muslim and Arab American communities about TSA-implemented lists, policies, and programs that lead to additional screenings at airports. The hearing also discussed the importance of ensuring that frontline TSA workforce receive the compensation and benefits they deserve. Lawmakers also heard about what other resources and authorities TSA requires to counter unmanned aircraft systems, commonly known as drones. Last week, Peters convened a hearing with senior federal officials on the risk that unmanned aircraft systems pose to communities across the country and how government agencies are working to combat this evolving threat. Peters and Pekoske also discussed the importance of using cutting-edge technologies to improve security at airport check points.