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Is it Time to Abolish the TSA?

Thursday, 3 May 2012 | 10:01 PM ET
AP

The Transportation Security Administration’s days should be numbered, especially after recent headlines about alleged mistreatment of passengers, Rep. John Mica said Thursday.

“I think we can and we must do better, and what we need to do is look at keeping government where it should be, and that’s in charge of security and not trying to manage a huge bureaucracy and workforce of screeners,” he said on CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report.”

“Get them out of the personnel business and into the security business,” said Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The push to abolish the TSA received a push earlier in the day after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., backed the effort by the Campaign for Liberty.

“The American people shouldn’t be subjected to harassment, groping, and other public humiliation simply to board an airplane,” Paul wrote in a fundraising e-mail. “It’s time to END the TSA and get the government’s hands back to only stealing our wallets instead of groping toddlers and grandmothers.”

Last month, Paul was detained by TSA agents after he refused additional screening before catching a flight from Nashville.

Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., said it would make sense to create a program that would help speed frequent fliers through airport security.

Time to Abolish the TSA?
Rep. Loretta Sanchez, (D-CA) and Rep. John Mica, (R-FL), discuss whether it is time to shut down the Transportation Security Administration.

But she stopped short of supporting abolition of the agency, created in November 2001 by President Bush, which employs more than 58,000 workers and has a budget of $8.1 billion.

“I think privatizing brings up a lot of questions. Prior to the TSA, we had a privatized system, and actually they were hiring people who didn’t even have documents to be in this country. They had just as many problems,” she said. “They had just as many problems. Just because you go to the private sector doesn’t necessarily mean we get better.”

Sanchez said it might be time to re-examine TSA policies.

Last month, the TSA defended both the pat-down of a crying 4-year-old Michelle Brademeyer in Kansas, as well as additional screening of 7-year-old Dina Frank that made her family miss their flight out of New York’s JFK International Airport.

In July 2011, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was selected for extra screening at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. He later tweeted, “It takes those of us with two titanium hips and a titanium shoulder a bit longer to get through TSA.”

Mica called for a streamlining of the process.

“I don’t think you need that kind of a system, and we’re trying to get them to switch over to a risk-based system,” he said. “There are millions of people who don’t need that extra scrutiny.”

Tune in:

"The Kudlow Report" airs weeknights at 7 p.m. ET.

Questions? Comments, send your emails to: lkudlow@kudlow.com

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  • Lawrence Kudlow is a CNBC senior contributor. Previously, Kudlow was anchor of CNBC's prime-time program "The Kudlow Report"