Senate passes bill to give disabled veterans free TSA PreCheck

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Photo credit Photo courtesy of TSA
This story originally published on July 17, 2019. It was updated on Sept. 13, 2019 at 9:03 a.m.

The Senate passed a bill to provide free TSA PreCheck benefits to thousands of disabled veterans this week. 

Senators Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and Todd Young, R-Ind., introduced the Veterans Expedited TSA Screening (VETS) Safe Travel Act. A companion bill is also in the House from Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz.

The bipartisan legislation would provide disabled veterans with the benefit, which usually costs $85, and makes navigating airport security easier.

TSA Precheck allows travelers to skip long security lines and process through security more easily without removing items such as shoes, jackets, belts, laptops, liquids, etc.

Active duty service members, National Guard and members of the Reserves already have free access to PreCheck. 

The bill aims to extend that benefit to the about 70,000 amputee, 100,000 paralyzed, and 130,000 blind veterans in the U.S.

“Millions of veterans have sacrificed a great deal in service to our nation and returned home with service-connected disabilities. For those of us who rely on prosthetics and wheelchairs for mobility, air travel and passing through airport security can be a challenge,” Duckworth said.“I’m proud to (introduce) this bipartisan legislation to make TSA PreCheck available at no cost to these veterans and make flying and passing through airports a little easier and less intrusive.”

Duckworth is the first disabled female veteran to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. She was deployed with her Illinois Army National Guard unit flying Blackhawks when an RPG took both her legs and partial use of her right arm.

The legislation is supported by the Wounded Warrior Project, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Honor Flight Network, Disabled American Veterans and the American Legion. 

The House version of the bill was referred to the Committee on Veterans Affairs and the Homeland Security Committee. The legislation passed out of the Homeland Security Committee by vote Wednesday. It's unclear when or if the bill will make it to the House floor for a vote.

The Senate version was last approved by the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. 

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