Sending Office: Honorable Val Butler Demings
Sent By:
Chris.Wilcox@mail.house.gov

        Request for Signature(s)

 

Cosign Letter to Support Full Funding for TSA Exit Lane Staffing and Law Enforcement Reimbursement

Current Co-Signers: Reps. Demings, Donovan, Jackson Lee, Peter King, Bennie Thompson, Vela and Watson Coleman

Deadline: Friday (12/15) COB

Dear Colleague:

 

Please join us in sending the below letter to House and Senate Appropriators urging that the ultimate FY18 DHS Appropriations bill include full funding for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Reimbursement Program
and TSA’s staffing of exit lanes from the sterile areas of airports. 

 

Recent events at airports at home and overseas underscore the reality that the need could not be greater for law enforcement presence in airport terminals and at passenger screening checkpoints. The current threat environment makes both these items critical.
Our letter highlights their importance, and points out that both would be authorized at FY17-enacted levels under the Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act, H.R. 2825, which overwhelmingly passed the House in July. 

 

Robust law enforcement presence in airports is important to deterring, preventing, and responding to attacks. Please join us in urging Appropriators to include full funding for both these programs in the final bill they are currently negotiating.  

 

If you have any questions, please contact Chris Wilcox with Rep. Demings, or Cary Leizerowski with Rep. Donovan. We hope to send the letter in the first
half of next week.

 

Sincerely,

 

VAL BUTLER DEMINGS       DAN M. DONOVAN, JR.

Member of Congress                Member of Congress

 

DRAFT TEXT OF LETTER:

 

Dear Chairmen Frelinghuysen, Cochran, Carter and Boozman, and Ranking Members Lowey, Leahy, Roybal-Allard, and Tester:

 

Thank you for your ongoing dedication to protecting our nation from terrorism.  Homeland security is an ongoing mission that requires continuous attention and vigilance because the mission does not end.  

 

While we have significantly improved our nation’s transportation security since 9/11, recent events at airports at home and overseas underscore the reality that the need could not be greater for law enforcement presence in airport terminals and at passenger
screening checkpoints.  As you continue working on a final Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, we respectfully request that you fully fund two critical items within the Transportation Security Administration (TSA): the
Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Reimbursement Program and TSA’s staffing of exit lanes from the sterile areas of airports.

 

As you know, the President’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposed eliminating funding for TSA’s LEO Reimbursement Program, and discontinuing its exit lane staffing.  Together, these proposed cuts would amount to nothing more than a $122 million-a-year cost-shift
to local law enforcement agencies that currently police our nation’s airports.  Additionally, Federal statute currently mandates that TSA be responsible for monitoring exit lanes and Federal regulations require airport operators ensure a law enforcement presence.1  

 

Recognizing the importance of both programs and the unfunded burden that would fall to airports without the programmatic resources, the Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act of 2017 (H.R. 2825), which the House passed by a vote of 386-41 on July
20, included explicit authorizations of $77 million for exit lane staffing by Transportation Security Officers and $45 million annually for TSA’s LEO reimbursable agreements.

 

Thankfully, both the appropriations bill passed by the House, H.R. 3354, and draft bill released by the Senate Appropriations Committee last week include full funding for TSA’s exit lane staffing. We appreciate that your Committees understand the critical
importance of continuing to fulfill this Federal responsibility, and we urge you to retain this important funding in your final bill.

 

Furthermore, we urge you to also fully fund TSA’s LEO Reimbursement Program for local agencies that provide law enforcement support at passenger checkpoints, as proposed by the draft bill released by the Senate Appropriations Committee.  Robust law enforcement
presence in airports is important to deterring, preventing, and responding to attacks.  TSA does not have a law enforcement mission, and its frontline officers are not armed.  As such, the presence of local law enforcement in airports and at checkpoints is
critical to being able to respond to ever-evolving threats.  

 

We are hopeful that your negotiations will identify a means of including this critically important funding for both these programs in the final bill.  Thank you for your consideration of this request.

 

Sincerely,

 

VAL BUTLER DEMINGS       DAN M. DONOVAN, JR.

Member of Congress                Member of Congress

 

1 Section 44903(n)(1) of U.S. Code Title 49 requires that the DHS Secretary “ensure that the Transportation Security Administration is responsible for monitoring passenger exit points from the sterile area of [certain] airports.”  Section 44901(h)
of U.S. Code Title 49 requires “the deployment of law enforcement personnel authorized to carry firearms at each airport security screening location to ensure passenger safety and national security” and section 44903(c) of U.S. Code Title 49 and 49 C.F.R.
Part 1542 further require airport operators to maintain an “air transportation security program that provides a law enforcement presence and capability at each of those airports that is adequate to ensure the safety of passengers.”

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information:Appropriations, Homeland Security, Transportation

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