Skip to content


Subcommittee Chairman Gimenez: “The Transportation Sector Needs an Engaged, Effective TSA”

May 15, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security Chairman Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) delivered the following opening statement in a hearing to examine the Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 budget proposal for the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA), featuring testimony from TSA Administrator David Pekoske.

Watch Chairman Gimenez’s opening statement here.

As prepared for delivery:

On behalf of the members of our subcommittee, I am pleased to welcome, Administrator Pekoske, to discuss TSA’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget request. 
It has been over two decades since TSA’s establishment after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. 
While TSA has grown and evolved as an agency, its mandate from the American people remains the same: to safeguard our transportation sector. 
From freight rail, trucking, and pipelines to commercial aviation, TSA leads the nation’s efforts in facilitating the safe and free movement of people and goods through the United States’ transportation systems. We know our economy depends on this to succeed and remain competitive around the world.
Throughout this last year, this subcommittee has conducted hearings on issues ranging from TSA’s modernization efforts, to the role of technology in aviation security, to TSA’s identity management work. This has been important work that gives us a better understanding of where TSA stands today. 
To carry out its mission, TSA needs the technology and manpower to stay ahead of the quickly evolving threat landscape and keep commerce flowing freely. 
We recognize that manpower continues to be an issue and this subcommittee is committed to working with TSA to ensure that their frontline workers receive an equitable, competitive wage. 
While more work needs to be done to ensure the long-term viability of TSA’s new pay plan, the increasing employee retention rates are an encouraging sign. 
I am confident that TSA’s leadership will continue to be an engaged, effective partner with this committee in addressing manpower issues. 
I am less confident, however, in TSA’s development and deployment of new technology. 
Last year, I raised concern with the painfully slow timelines for TSA’s roll-out of the new computed tomography systems and the second generation of credential authentication technology at TSA checkpoints across the country. These are estimated to be complete in Fiscal Years 2042 and 2049 respectively. This is simply unacceptable. 
One year later, I am still concerned that the agency has not made enough strides to expedite the rollouts of these critical new technologies.
In fact, when examining the budget request, it appears that technology has taken a back seat. I am concerned that TSA has not requested enough for technology.  
TSA’s procurement budget request for Fiscal Year 2025 is over $40 million less than what Congress enacted in Fiscal Year 2023, and the research and development request for this fiscal year was barely half the size of the agency’s R&D budget in Fiscal Year 2023. 
I understand the agency is also including a request to end the diversion of the Passenger Security Fee, which would help the agency account for some of these changes. I am firmly against the diversion and recognize the need for Congress to engage this issue more thoughtfully and end the “bait-and-switch” that is currently happening. 
Simply put: the American people pay $5.60 per flight for security – all of it should go to security. 
Despite these challenges, I am pleased that TSA is making tremendous progress with digital IDs. 
Through partnerships with states and global tech leaders such as Apple and Google, TSA is working to integrate mobile driver licenses and other forms of digital identification into their security screening process. 
TSA’s work on identity management is making the security process safer, more efficient, and ultimately less intrusive to individual passengers. I am proud that the agency is now the de-facto leader within the federal government in this space. 
As passenger volumes at airports continue to increase, the role of technology is even more important to ensure checkpoints are operating efficiently and that passengers have plenty of time to make their flights. 
This is not the time to lose focus on technology. 
In closing, the transportation sector needs an engaged, effective TSA to ensure the free flow of goods, people, and services across the country and around the world. 
Administrator Pekoske, my colleagues and I stand ready to work with you to fulfill your mandate to the American people. 
I appreciate you being here today, and I look forward to your testimony.