Sending Office: Honorable Val Butler Demings
Cosign Letter to Support Full Funding for TSA Exit Lane Staffing and Law Enforcement Reimbursement
Deadline: Friday, March 16 at noon
Current signers: Dan Donovan, Bonnie Watson Coleman, John Katko, Robert A. Brady, Cheri Bustos, Steve Cohen, Joe Courtney, Susan A. Davis, Peter A. DeFazio, Brian Fitzpatrick, Vincente Gonzalez, Sheila Jackson Lee, Ruben J. Kihuen, James R.
Langevin, Rick Larsen, John B. Larson, John Lewis, Donald M. Payne, Jr., Adam Smith, Darren Soto, Dina Titus, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Please join us in support of full funding for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Reimbursement Program and TSA’s staffing of exit lanes from the sterile area of airports.
Robust law enforcement presence in airports is important to deterring, preventing, and responding to attacks. Recent events in airports at home and overseas underscores that this need could not be greater to ensure the safety of the flying public and employees.
However, the President’s FY19 budget again proposes eliminating the LEO reimbursement and exit lane staffing introduced in the FY18 budget. With federal law requiring that TSA be responsible for monitoring exit lanes and that airport operators ensure a
law enforcement presence, the proposed cuts amount to a $122 million cost-shift to airports and local law enforcement agencies.
Please join us in urging the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security to include full funding for both these programs in the FY19 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act.
Val Butler Demings Dan Donovan
Member of Congress Member of Congress
Bonnie Watson Coleman John Katko
Member of Congress Member of Congress
Dear Chairman Carter and Ranking Member Roybal-Allard:
Thank you for your ongoing dedication to protecting our nation from terrorism. Homeland security is a critical 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 begin working on a Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 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 2019 budget again proposes the elimination of funding for TSA’s LEO Reimbursement program and exit lane staffing introduced in the FY18 budget. These cuts would amount to a $122 million-a-year cost-shift to airport
operators and 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
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.
In line with that legislation, we urge you to fully fund TSA’s LEO Reimbursement Program for local agencies that provide law enforcement support at passenger checkpoints. 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.
In addition, after TSA tried to abdicate its responsibility for monitoring exit lanes through a regulatory amendment on airports in 2013, Congress, through the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, recognized that exit lanes were part of TSA’s core mission and
required the agency to permanently monitor passenger exit points from the sterile areas at all 155 airports where the agency performed those duties on December 1, 2013. DHS Appropriations bills have funded TSA to staff the exit lanes every year since this
requirement became law and have included statutory language that prohibits TSA from abrogating this responsibility. We strongly urge you to continue this funding precedent.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.
 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.”
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