US Senator Ted Cruz (R – TX) has successfully added language to a Federal Aviation Administration authorization bill that will spare lawmakers from the public at US airports with private screening and security escorts. This is not sound public policy.
Man Of The People: Cruz Pushes Through Amendment That Will Give Politician VIP Security At US Airports
Cruz alleges that “increased threats” have made it too dangerous for politicians, judges, and their immediate families to travel though US airports. He slipped in an amendment to the latest FAA re-authorization bill that will grant him and other politicians, cabinet members, federal judges, and immediate family members a number of airport perks:
- Dedicated private security screening away from the public
- Security escorts
A majority in the Senate agreed, with Cruz’s amendment left in the bill:
The Senate is moving ahead with a proposal by Sen. Ted Cruz that would allow political VIPs to be whisked through airport security lines, reducing the chances of embarrassing snapshots going viral.
Cruz’s amendment, which he says is needed to ensure public officials’ safety amid a rise in threats, was appended on Thursday to a major aviation policy bill. Though the bill still has more steps before it becomes law, its inclusion at this stage was a win for the Texas Republican, who was infamously photographed by a gawker while en route to Cancún during a brutal winter storm in 2021.
That Cancun trip remains an embarrassment for Cruz. After a power grid failure that plunged millions of Texans into darkness, Cruz skipped town and flew to Mexico. He was called on it and forced to apologize…
But this bill is aimed at shielding him from the public. If Cruz is escorted though a private security checkpoint and held in a VIP waiting area until boarding time, he is less likely to be photographed or have to interact with his constituents.
View From The Wing is exactly on point in arguing that sparing government officials from government-run security will not lead to innovation and improved customer service:
It seems to me that since in the U.S. airports are owned and managed by governments, and security screening is largely performed by (rather than just overseen by) government, government leaders should experience them the same way that passengers do, “eat your own dog food” or else we cannot ever expect the product to get better.
Right on, Gary.
Badgering Is Not Okay. But Neither Is This VIP Treatment
I’ve long bemoaned overzealous constituents badgering politicians in airports or on trains. If you approach an elected leader, you must be respectful.
But politicians do need to be accountable to their constituents and when they elevate themselves, insulated by incumbency advantage and a lack of term limits, to a position in which they wish to no longer deal with the hoi polloi outside of controlled settings, there is something very wrong.
I’ve met Cruz before and enjoyed a nice chat with him….I have nothing against him personally, though I cannot say that I respect how he still endorsed Donald Trump after the ex-President so savagely attacked his wife Heidi, who shares the same name as my wife.
I do understand that as a polarizing people, many people hate this man, not just his policies. But even so, maybe if he is truly afraid of the public he might change the way he votes on gun laws?
Senator Cruz has managed to push through a provision in the FAA reauthorization act to shield politicians like him from the security checkpoints you or I have to go through. This is bad public policy: creating a separate system for the political class further insulates them from the people and problems they have been elected to care for.