But he does have something against their boss. Mica doesn’t believe Uncle Sam should employ those who work to make sure the friendly skies stay that way.
He wants private companies to do that.
This isn’t a new idea for Mica. He has punched this bag before. His latest push came last week with a report he issued along with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The report calls for moving “airport screening operations to private contractors under federal supervision.”
It’s unusual for Republicans to look abroad for examples on how to shape U.S. policies, but on this point the congressmen say: “Almost all Western countries have evolved their airport screening systems to meet current aviation threats through federal oversight of private contract screeners. The U.S. must also evolve to provide the most effective transportation security system at the most reasonable cost to the taxpayer.”
Let me know when Republicans look to Canada and Europe for advice on health care and capital punishment.
Before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, airport screening was done by private companies. After that Congress determined that security should properly be done by the government, although private screeners continue in 16 airports. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says it’s also cheaper as government work.
Not expanding the private screening program aligns with TSA Administrator John Pistole’s vision “of the agency as a federal counterterrorism network that continues to evolve to keep the traveling public safe. . . .” said Greg Soule, an agency spokesman. “Currently, private screening contracts on average cost the government 3 to 9 percent more than a federalized work force,” he said.
In addition to being a strong advocate for privatized screeners, Mica, who acknowledges that “we are safer today than we were 10 years ago,” is just as adamant against collective bargaining rights for government TSOs. When the Obama administration granted limited bargaining rights earlier this year, Mica called it the “turnover of airport screening to the administration’s union cronies.”
Speaking of cronies, Mica reportedly has received campaign contributions from private companies that could benefit from greater private operation of airport screening. “In the past 13 years, he has received almost $81,000 in campaign donations from political action committees and executives connected to some of the private contractors already at 16 U.S. airports,” FoxNews.com wrote last year.
His office did not reply to a Federal Diary request for comment on the contributions, but his office told Fox News that the money did not influence his decision-making.