Little over 24 hours after it was announced top Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official Kelly Hoggan was removed from his position in wake of congressional scrutiny earlier this month, the oft-maligned agency found itself the focus of yet another congressional hearing.
On Tuesday, the House Homeland Security Committee held a full committee hearing titled, “Long Lines, Short Patience: The TSA Airport Screening Experience,” where Members of Congress questioned the TSA’s ability to maintain security while meeting summer travel challenges.
With approximately 220 million passengers expected to pass through security checkpoints during peak travel season this summer, aviation stakeholders remain concerned that TSA’s staffing challenges will cause very long lines and wait times.
At the hearing, Alabama Republican and senior member of the Homeland Security Committee U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-03) pressed TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger on the bloated bureaucracy the TSA has become.
“With Memorial Day approaching, one of the busiest travel times of the year, and the recent news reports of the never-ending lines at TSA screening points at airports across the country, it is past time another option is on the table to take the place of the current TSA screeners,” Rogers said.
“As I told Administrator Neffenger in the hearing today, I will soon be introducing legislation that will allow airports to end the federal screening workforce, replacing them with qualified private contractors,” continued Rogers. “This will allow TSA to work directly with its stakeholders on technology and information-sharing while being focused on the real threats to our transportation systems. We have dealt with the ‘Thousands Standing Around’ worker attitude for far too long and we must make the screening process more efficient and customer-focused. My legislation should help make the TSA smarter and leaner.”