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WASHINGTON – Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), House Homeland Security Committee ranking member, today delivered an opening statement at a Transportation and Maritime Security subcommittee hearing entitled, “Climbing Again: Stakeholder Views on Resuming Air Travel in the COVID-19 Era.”

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I am pleased that the Subcommittee is meeting to hear stakeholder perspectives on safely resuming air travel.

Though I am perplexed as to why the ACLU is here and not the airlines.  

Mr. Chairman, I also am disappointed that Members are unable to meet physically for this important hearing.

Yesterday and today, two large Committees met for markups.

Members were physically present and adhered to socially distancing guidelines during debate.
Minority Members were even allowed to use the Committee rooms.

The House will be back next week voting in person yet this Committee chooses not to meet in person.  

The minority looks forward to working with the majority in a bipartisan manner to allow Members to be physically present for Committee activities in the future.

Today’s hearing comes at a time when thousands of aircraft remain grounded across the United States.

Passenger volume continues to hover around 85% below average. 

Ensuring that travelers have confidence in the ability to fly safely is vital to the industry.

Aviation stakeholders must work collaboratively with relevant government entities, including TSA, to restore trust in air travel.

As an agency, TSA has been on the front lines throughout this pandemic. 

We are grateful to the thousands of TSA officers who have continued to protect the traveling public. More than 650 of these front line officers have contracted the virus. 

Each Member of this Committee is saddened by the tragic loss of five TSA personnel to COVID-19.

In addition, air transportation stakeholders have also seen their personnel hit hard by COVID-19. 

As we seek to ensure the health and safety of aviation personnel and travelers, I hope to hear more about what policies and procedures have been implemented in recent months. 

I also hope to hear from these witnesses what additional actions should be taken to protect the flying public.

I thank the witnesses for appearing before this Committee today, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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