Sens. Ted Cruz and Kyrsten Sinema today endorsed the idea of a “government-implemented passenger portal” for coronavirus contact tracing — something that U.S. airlines have also recommended.
Cruz (R-Texas) and Sinema (D-Ariz.), who lead the Senate Commerce Aviation and Space Subcommittee, wrote in a letter to Vice President Mike Pence , obtained by POLITICO, that “there is no tool that provides full, reliable data to the CDC, and private industry, including air carriers, are being asked to step in and fill the void,” calling it “unsustainable.”
In a letter to HHS last month, Airlines for America suggested that the department “set up an online link,” which “would eliminate the need for the airlines to act as an intermediary.”
Cruz and Sinema, echoing A4A’s argument, wrote that a “secure mobile application and single online webform, implemented by the government, would allow the CDC to directly collect information from travelers and would provide for more complete, accurate, and timely contact tracing of infected or exposed travelers.”
They wrote that the federal government, “working with private industry partners,” “could have an application ready for consumer use within two weeks and a webform ready within four weeks.”
At a hearing last week, DOT’s Joel Szabat said there may be technical difficulties with standing up a portal.
Cruz and Sinema told Pence that “if additional legal authorities or funding are needed … Congress stands ready to act.” They asked for a response by next week.