The US House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation to ensure only travelers who have undergone required background and security checks are able to use TSA’s Pre-Check screening lanes.

The “Pre-Check is Pre-Check Act”—introduced by Rep. John Katko (R-New York) and passed by a voice vote Sept. 5—would guarantee only travelers who have enrolled in a designated trusted traveler program can use Pre-Check screening lanes at airports nationwide. The law would allow an exception for passengers younger than age 12 or older than 75 traveling on the same itinerary as a trusted traveler program member.

Critics of TSA’s handling of the Pre-Check program allege low enrollment and a growing volume of travelers have led the agency to expand its scope to include many low-risk passengers who are not qualified to use the expedited lanes.

Allowing non-members to use the lanes “opens up our airports and airlines to vulnerabilities and risks the safety of the traveling public,” Katko said in a statement. “Rather than moving unscreened passengers through expedited screening lanes, this measure will ensure that TSA enhances its enrollment processes and develops alternative methods to manage checkpoint wait times.”

The legislation requires TSA to launch a pilot program to implement “risk-modified screening” for passengers deemed low-risk, either through “risk-based, intelligence-driven criteria” or the use of canine enhanced screening. If successful, the pilot program would help the agency streamline security screening, while mitigating some of the current program’s vulnerabilities.

The bill would also task TSA with implementing a long-term strategy to expand Pre-Check’s enrollment levels. In so doing, it would encourage the agency to partner with US carriers to increase promotion and marketing opportunities for the program during the ticket reservation process, as well as develop a secure mobile enrollment platform and expand the number of enrollment centers to accommodate demand.

The bill now heads to the Senate, which has so far not made any plans to consider it.

Ben Goldstein,