H.R. 2750, Improved Security Vetting for Aviation Workers Act of 2015, as amended

H.R. 2750

Improved Security Vetting for Aviation Workers Act of 2015, as amended

Sponsor
Rep. John Katko

Date
July 27, 2015 (114th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, July 27, 2015, the House will consider H.R. 2750, the Improved Security Vetting for Aviation Workers Act of 2015, as amended, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 2750 was introduced on June 12, 2015, by Rep. John Katko (R-NY) and was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security, which ordered the bill reported by voice vote on June 25, 2015.

Bill Summary

H.R. 2750 requires the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to:

  • Request from the Director of National Intelligence access to additional data from the Terrorist Identity Datamart Environment (TIDE) data and any other terrorism-related information necessary to improve the effectiveness of the credentialing vetting process for individuals with unescorted access to sensitive airport areas;
  • Issue new guidance for Transportation Security Inspectors to annually conduct a comprehensive review of airport badging office procedures and documentation for granting applicant access to sensitive airport areas;
  • Conduct a pilot program to determine the feasibility of fully implementing a service through which the Administrator would be notified of a status change of any individual holding a valid credential granting unescorted access to sensitive airport areas;
  • Issue new guidance mandating expiration dates on airport credentials of workers with temporary U.S. work authorizations; and,
  • Identify airports with deficiencies determining an applicant’s lawful work status and address such weaknesses.

Background

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created “to strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation systems and ensure the freedom of movement for people and commerce.”[1]  TSA seeks to provide the “most effective transportation security in the most efficient way as a high performing counterterrorism organization.”[2]

On June 4, 2015, the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report finding that while the agency’s process for vetting aviation workers for potential links to terrorism was “generally effective,” testing showed that “TSA did not identify 73 individuals with terrorism-related category codes because TSA is not authorized to receive all terrorism-related information under current interagency watchlisting policy.”[3]

The report also found that TSA has less effective controls in place to ensure that TSA employees had not committed crimes that would disqualify them from having unescorted access to secure airport areas and had lawful status and were eligible to work in the United States.[4]  The OIG recommended that TSA request and review additional watchlist data, require that airports improve verification of the rights of applicants to work lawfully in the U.S., revoke credentials when the right to work expires, and improve the quality of vetting data.  TSA concurred with the OIG’s recommendations.[5]

H.R. 2750 implements recommendations outlined in the OIG’s report to strengthen the vetting of credentialed aviation workers who have access to sensitive areas of airports.  According to the bill’s sponsor, the bill “takes a first step in working to reform the issues that plague the TSA and to ensure the safety of our traveling public.”[6]

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[1] http://www.tsa.gov/about-tsa
[2] Id.
[3] See DHS OIG report—“TSA Can Improve Aviation Worker Vetting,” June 4, 2015 at 1.
[4] Id.
[5] Id.
[6] See Press Release—“Katko introduces legislation to reform oversight measures at TSA,” June 15, 2015.

Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate is currently unavailable.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Jerry White with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.