CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Wednesday, May 30, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 3670, a bill to require the Transportation Security Administration to comply with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority for approval. The bill was originally introduced on December 14, 2011, by Rep. Timothy Walz (D-MN) and was referred to the Committees on Homeland Security and Veterans’ Affairs. The Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a mark-up session on April 27, 2012, and ordered the bill to be reported by voice vote.
H.R. 3670 would amend the Aviation and Transportation Security Act to require the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to comply with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) when carrying out certain personnel decisions with respect to the employment of air transportation passenger and property screeners.
According to H. Rept. 112-487, “Soon after the attacks of September 11, 2001, TSA was given USERRA exemption to allow the agency to hire new employees without delay for airport screenings. USERRA is a law that protects the reemployment rights of servicemembers so they are able to keep their job, benefits, and seniority in their civilian job if they are called up to Active Duty. Over the past 10 years, TSA has voluntarily adopted some USERRA provisions for their employees. After a decade, TSA no longer requires special hiring authorities that it required when newly created. With more than 10,000 veterans among the agency's employees, representing 20 percent of the Transportation Security Officer workforce, TSA, like any other federal agency, should be required to comply with the same USERRA rules as other Federal agencies and private employers.
While TSA's goal is to enact security procedures for security checkpoints at our nation's airports, maximizing transportation security, compliance with USERRA is not an impediment to TSA's efforts. In fact, providing USERRA rights to servicemembers employed by TSA should bring a level of stability to that workforce. H.R. 3670 would amend the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (49 U.S.C. 44935 note; Public Law 107-71; 115 Stat. 597) to require the TSA to be fully compliant with USERRA. In testimony submitted for the record on H.R. 3670, TSA stated that its current practice already conforms to the requirements H.R. 3670 would put in statute. Therefore, enactment of H.R. 3670 would ensure existing protections could not be weakened by a change in Administration rules or regulations.”
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that enacting H.R. 3670 would not significantly affect the agency's costs. Additionally, the bill would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.