Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is proposing an amendment that will grant lawmakers security escorts when flying from commercial airports. The legislation will also provide expedited airport screening out of the public’s view. Cruz claims that the reasoning behind the amendment is to reduce threats to lawmakers by preventing online criticism and making their travel less visible.
The amendment specifically states that the additional security measures are intended, “To establish a process for safe airport travel for covered persons who are subject to threats.” Covered people are to include members of Congress, federal judges, and Cabinet members. It would also cover up to two staff members of the covered person, their spouse and their children. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will be authorizing the protective escorts.
In 2021, Sen. Cruz was criticized on social media platforms after he was spotted at the airport leaving Texas for Cancun. The departure took place during a severe storm that hit the Lone Star state. It caused widespread outages for Texans and a handful of people lost their lives.
Reportedly, the senator and his family’s flight reservations were leaked by an employee. However, commentators on social media appeared to disregard the breach of information and instead posted comments trending, “We’re the leak.” It was apparent that the timing of his flight upset the Texans caught in the aftermath of the storm. Cruz claimed that the public outrage was a misunderstanding and caused him to receive unnecessary harassment.
Perspective: whoever the “leak” is, she/he/they have over 10k @united colleagues & families in TX who are freezing while their US Senator skips town & then tries to lie about it. @tedcruz is not a “customer,” he’s a public servant who has lied too many times. WE’RE ALL THE LEAK. https://t.co/NDs6935xim
— Sara Nelson (@FlyingWithSara) February 20, 2021
The United States Capitol Police (USCP) issued a press release in early January disclosing their assessment of threats against lawmakers. According to reports, over 8,000 threats were made against members in 2023. This is only about 1,000 less than the number of threats recorded right after the January 6 Capitol riots. Threats often come in the form of phone calls, emails, mail, and social media. The USCP said that investigations have increased due to the “false sense of anonymity” people have on social media.
USPC also stated, “With the political conventions, Member campaigns, and many issues being debated on Capitol Hill, this is going to be a very busy year for our special agents. Our team is dedicated to putting all of our resources into protecting the Congress while we continue to grow in order to keep up with our expanding mission.”
The proposed amendment is to be followed by a larger aviation policy bill. The bill will be reviewed by the Senate Commerce Committee next week.