November 16, 2020

Cortez Masto, Hirono, Klobuchar Lead Colleagues in Urging DHS to Increase Air Travel Safety and Support Tourism Industry and Workforce During COVID-19 Pandemic

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) led seven of their Senate colleagues in writing a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad Wolf asking for DHS to increase the safety of air travel and support the recovery of our nation’s travel and tourism industry. The letter highlights the dramatic job losses across the travel and tourism industry, including jobs related to air travel and tourism, airlines, airports, aerospace companies, and companies that sell goods and services to the air transport chain. The senators asked Acting Secretary Wolf to focus on providing clear COVID-19 protections and standards, addressing bottlenecks at Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints, boosting the processing of applications to TSA PreCheck and Global Entry, and expanding preclearance operations that allow some international passengers to swiftly bypass additional screenings after they reach their destination.

The lawmakers wrote, “There needs to be a multi-layered approach to combat COVID-19 and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS or Department) is on the frontlines when it comes to putting together safeguards for air travel. This makes DHS uniquely positioned to support and advance the recovery of our nation’s travel and tourism industry, along with the restaurant and hospitality businesses that rely on it.”  

“As long as air travel remains depressed, the hospitality and affiliated industries will not be able to recover economically and will affect big and small businesses, workers, and state and local governments who critically need additional tax revenue,” the lawmakers continued. “Your actions regarding air travel will have tangible impacts for this entire nation and we urge you to make air travel as safe, expedient, and efficient as possible.”

The full text of the letter can be found HERE.


Senator Cortez Masto has consistently called for comprehensive relief to support the hospitality, travel, and tourism industries. In October, the Senator introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) aimed at providing relief and recovery measures for the convention, trade show, entertainment, travel and hospitality industries and their workers. In July, the Senator introduced the bipartisan Sustaining Tourism Enterprises During the COVID–19 Pandemic (STEP) Act to provide direct support to the hard-hit tourism and travel industry to promote economic recovery and help increase public confidence when, in the future, it is safe for these industries to reopen.

Cortez Masto recently partnered with Senator Durbin to introduce the Worker Health Care Coverage Protection Act, a bill that would protect millions of unemployed or furloughed workers from losing their health insurance by enabling them to access subsidized COBRA coverage.