Sending Office: Honorable Val Butler Demings
Cosign Letter to Support Vital Airport Security Programs
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 FY21 budget proposes eliminating the LEO reimbursement and exit lane staffing. 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 significant 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 FY21 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act.
Val Butler Demings J. Luis Correa Debbie Lesko
Member of Congress Member of Congress Member of Congress
Dear Chairwoman Roybal-Allard and Ranking Member Fleischmann:
First, thank you for your unwavering dedication to protecting our nation from all threats, especially terrorism.
As you begin working on a Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 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.
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 airports where the agency previously performed
As you know, the President’s FY 2021 budget proposes the elimination of funding for TSA’s LEO reimbursement program and exit lane staffing. These cuts would amount to hundreds of millions of cost-shifts to airport operators and local law enforcement agencies
that currently protect our nation’s airports – forcing airports and law enforcement agencies to divert scarce resources from other security and infrastructure priorities.
Congress has long recognized the importance of these programs and the unbearable burden that would fall to airports without the programmatic resources. The 2018 TSA Modernization Act authorized funding for the LEO Reimbursement Program and TSA staffing at
exit lanes through 2021. Most recently, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act for FY20 provided $129.8 million to fully support the LEO reimbursement program and TSA staffing at exit lanes.
Airport operators are required to have a law enforcement presence at or near security checkpoints to respond to threats that may be discovered during the TSA screening process. This proactive approach to protecting the traveling public has a proven record
of success. A strong law enforcement presence in airports is critical to deterring, preventing, and responding to attacks.
We urge you to fully fund the authorized level of $55 million for TSA’s LEO reimbursement program in FY 2021 and provide at least $83.5 million for TSA to continue to staff exit lanes in FY 2021. This level matches funding provided in the FY20 Department
of Homeland Security Appropriations Act. As you know, DHS Appropriations bills have funded appropriate staffing at the exit lanes every year since this requirement became law and have included statutory language that prohibits TSA from removing this responsibility.
Again, thank you so much for what you are willing to do every day to keep our nation and our traveling public safe and I look forward to continuing a partnership that works in favor of the American people.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0