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Bush to expand Natl. Guard role at airports

By John King
CNN Washington Bureau

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- President Bush will announce new aviation security measures Friday that include an expanded role for the National Guard at airport checkpoints, senior administration officials told CNN.

The administration views the move "as a necessary stopgap" because legislation to boost airline and airport security is tied up in a battle in Congress over whether airport security workers should be federal employees.

Democrats want screening workers to be federal employees. Most Republicans and the White House want federal oversight but do not favor federalizing all such workers.

As the debate has proceeded, several major security lapses have occurred at airports, and many members of Congress and local officials have complained that airport security remains a problem.

In his prime-time speech from Atlanta Thursday night, Bush called on Congress "to quickly send me legislation that makes cockpits more secure, baggage screening more thorough, and puts the federal government in charge of all airport screening and security."

Nevertheless, no resolution is in sight and senior administration officials said Bush decided to increase the role of the National Guard and take immediate additional steps to improve security.

Bush will stop short of accepting the recommendation of some House Republicans who wanted the White House to issue an executive order making broad changes in airline security measures instead of waiting for Congress to act.



 
 
 
 



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