HOUSE ACTS SWIFTLY IN APPROVING KATKO LEGISLATION TO OVERHAUL TSA BUREAUCRACY, REDUCE AIRPORT WAIT TIMES
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives today unanimously passed bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) to address the growing TSA wait times at airports nationwide. The Checkpoint Optimization and Efficiency Act of 2016, introduced by Representative Katko less than two weeks ago, directly addresses the TSA’s current, flawed staffing model and works to ensure that the agency’s resources are utilized and allocated in the most efficient and effective manner to reduce wait times.
“With the summer travel season upon us, it should not be the case the passengers are missing flights or that airports are approaching operational ground stop due to long lines at security TSA security checkpoints,” said Representative Katko. “Today, the House took action to address this crisis. The bipartisan measure that I’ve introduced and passed through the House overhauls TSA’s current, bureaucratic procedures and implements commonsense practices to help ensure that the TSA and local airports are working in coordination to relieve congestion. Now, it’s time for the Senate to do its job and take action on this measure.”
Specifically, the legislation introduced by Representative Katko:
- Grants TSA the flexibility to utilize all personnel present to compensate for long wait lines, including reallocating Behavior Detection Officers to speed up passenger screening efforts and granting greater authority to Federal Security Directors, who know the individual airport best, to make staffing resource decisions.
- Ensures that private stakeholders, airports, and government regulators are coordinating response through a staffing advisory committee.
- Requires TSA to assess its current staffing allocation model and share this model with both air carriers and airports.
- Reallocates canine team assets to high volume airports and checkpoints.
- Requires TSA to establish a service level agreement and minimum staffing numbers with air carriers and airports.
The legislation is the result of significant feedback from the airline industry as well as airports around the country, including Christina Callahan, Executive Director of the Syracuse Hancock International Airport, who recently testified before Representative Katko’s Transportation Security subcommittee on local efforts to ensure checkpoint efficiency.
In addition to today’s action in the House, Representative Katko has called on the U.S. Senate to unblock legislation that he unanimously passed out of the House, the PreCheck Expansion Act. This legislation would expedite airport screenings by requiring the TSA to make the PreCheck process simpler, for example, by allowing travelers to apply online and by expanding enrollment centers.
Congressman John Katko serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security, where he chairs the Transportation Security Subcommittee. He represents the 24th Congressional District of New York, which includes all of Onondaga, Cayuga, and Wayne Counties and the western portion of Oswego County. For more information, please visit https://katko.house.gov or www.facebook.com/RepJohnKatko.