Sen. Harkin: In-Flight Movies Should Have Closed Captioning

Thursday, 05 Jun 2014 08:42 PM

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A retiring Democrat Senator from Iowa senator wants airlines to include closed captioning on in-flight movies.

Sen. Tom Harkin is trying to have a measure requiring airlines to study the idea included in a $54 billion funding bill for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. Closed captioning, Harkin said, would benefit hearing-impaired passengers who do not have a lot of options on long flights.

"I have been trying for some time to get the airlines to provide closed captions on the movies on their airplanes," Harkin said, according to The Hill.  "I can't understand why they don't do it. It doesn't cost anything."

Harkin talked about a lawyer friend of his, who is deaf and travels to Europe.

"The only movie he can watch is a German or a French movie that has English subtitles," Harkin said. "But if it's an American movie, it has French subtitles and German subtitles and Chinese subtitles, but not English subtitles."

Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski, the chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told Harkin on the Senate floor Thursday the committee would consider his proposal.

"This is a very poignant situation you've brought to the committee's attention," she said, according to The Hill.

"Your advocacy for the disabled and handicapped are well-known. Let's work together as we go to the floor, develop the language. Actually, I look forward to trying to put it in manager's package."

Harkin is retiring at the end of his current term, his fifth as a Senator after five terms in the House. Democrat Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst are dueling for Harkin’s seat.

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