Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend, Committee Introduces Bill to Reduce Airport Wait Times

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With Memorial Day weekend kicking off the high summer travel season, the House Homeland Security Committee today put forward bipartisan legislation introduced by Representative John Katko (R-NY) to reduce airport wait times and optimize passenger screening checkpoints across the country. Specifically the legislation empowers local officials of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to make staffing decisions fitting the needs of individual airports, ensuring that checkpoints have the personnel needed to operate efficiently. Checkpoint Optimization and Efficiency Act of 2016 pulls together a number of commonsense best practices to reduce passenger wait times by redeploying certain TSA personnel and canine assets to the front lines of airport screening and expanding TSA’s PreCheck program to make checkpoints more efficient. Further, the bill provides transparency into TSA’s staffing allocation model by requiring staffing numbers to be coordinated and shared with airports and airlines.

Chairman McCaul: “We have heard consistently from airport and airline stakeholders that there needs to be more local authority provided to TSA officials for adequately staffing and optimizing security checkpoints. This legislation is a critical step towards ensuring that the traveling public receives security screening that is not only effective but also efficient. The status quo is unacceptable, and it is incumbent upon Congress to act swiftly to alleviate the problem. It was my top priority to ensure this bill was introduced in advance of the Memorial Day holiday, when millions of Americans will take to the skies. I commend Chairman Katko for his tireless efforts to develop this bipartisan legislation.”

Representative Katko: “This bipartisan bill provides needed transparency, accountability, and reform to the front lines of airport passenger screening and, upon enactment, will immediately help alleviate the crushing wait times being experienced by the traveling public across the country. I commend the positive steps being taken by Administrator Neffenger to respond to this crisis and by our airport and airline stakeholders who have responded in collaborative fashion as we have worked to develop sensible policy solutions to this problem.”

NOTE: The House has taken immediate action to address the long line crisis at airports across the country. Two bipartisan bills (H.R. 2843 and H.R. 3584), passed by the House, and are awaiting action in the Senate. Chairman McCaul urged the Senate to pass those bills immediately and send them to the President’s desk.