Wicker Seeks Stakeholder Input on TSA Budget and Operations

May 11, 2020

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today sent a letter to the American Association of Airport Executives, Airlines for America, U.S. Travel Association, Airports Council International-North America, Security Manufacturers Coalition, and the Association of American Railroads requesting feedback regarding President Donald Trump’s budget request for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, the CARES Act, and other legislation impacting the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) operations and programs.

Excerpt from letter:

The FY 2021 President’s budget includes a request of $8.24 billion for TSA. The request focuses on preserving frontline operations, transitioning to new technologies, maintaining current screening equipment, consolidating TSA headquarters, and creating efficiencies to optimize limited resources. The request also seeks funding for 47,596 Transportation Security Officers. 

The President’s budget request was submitted before the COVID-19 crisis escalated. Undoubtedly, this pandemic will change budget priorities, particularly for the air and surface transportation sectors. The aviation industry has been hard-hit by the pandemic. TSA reports that only 119,629 passengers entered through a TSA checkpoint on April 29, 2020, compared with 2,256,442 passengers one year ago – a decline of nearly 95 percent. As for the railroad industry, Amtrak is experiencing a 96 percent year-over-year decline in system-wide customer trips and a 94 percent year-over-year decline in daily bookings. Freight rails typically transport approximately 60,000 carloads of food and agricultural products per week and employ 150,000 people. Any disruption to this vital surface supply system would be particularly disastrous for our households and our essential workers during this difficult time.  

In addition to the President’s budget request, I would appreciate your thoughts on the CARES Act and its implications for TSA operations. The CARES Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020, to alleviate the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. The CARES Act provided TSA with $100 million for janitorial services at checkpoints and other airport common areas to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Click here to read the full letter.