H.R. 719, TSA Office of Inspection Accountability Act of 2015

H.R. 719

TSA Office of Inspection Accountability Act of 2015

Sponsor
Rep. John Katko

Date
February 10, 2015 (114th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, February 10, 2015, the House will consider H.R. 719, the TSA Office of Inspection Accountability Act of 2015, under a suspension of the rules.  H.R. 719 was introduced on February 4, 2015 by Rep. John Katko (R-NY) and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security.

Bill Summary

H.R. 719 is substantively identical to H.R. 4803, the TSA Office of Inspection Accountability Act of 2014, legislation that previously passed in the House on July 22, 2014 by voice vote.[1]

H.R. 719 requires TSA to implement changes to come into compliance with existing federal law concerning criminal investigator positions.  Specifically, the bill requires that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General (IG), within 60 days of the bill’s enactment, analyze and issue findings on the methods and data used by TSA to classify employees as criminal investigators.  If the IG finds that such methods and data are invalid, TSA is prohibited from hiring new employees to work in the TSA Office of Inspection until the following occur: 1) TSA certifies that only TSA employees who meet the criteria of criminal investigators are designated as such; and 2) within 30 days of TSA’s certification, the IG verifies that DHS used adequate and valid data in its certification.  In addition, TSA must reclassify those employees who do not meet the criteria of criminal investigators and provide an estimate to Congress of the long-term savings that will result from the reclassification of such employees.

H.R. 719 requires DHS to submit to Congress any information associated with a review of cases when Federal Air Marshal Service officials have obtained discounted or free firearms for personal use.  Finally, this legislation also requires DHS to identify specific actions that will be taken to prevent Federal Air Marshals from using their official positions to obtain discounted or free firearms for such personal use.

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[1] Congressional Record – July 22, 2014, at H6606.

Background

TSA’s Office of Inspection is responsible for investigating allegations of criminal and administrative misconduct among TSA employees, and conducting inspections and covert testing of TSA operations.  In order to qualify for premium pay as criminal investigators, federal employees must generally spend at least fifty percent of their time investigating, apprehending, or detaining individuals suspected or convicted of offenses against the criminal laws of the U.S.[2]   According to the IG, the TSA has failed to ensure its officers who are designated as criminal investigators in the TSA Office of Inspection actually meet this criteria.[3]  The pay and benefits associated with the incorrectly classified TSA officers will cost as much as $17 million in federal funds over five years.[4]

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[2] H.R. 719, Sec. 2(1).
[3] Id. at Sec. 2(2).
[4] Id. at Sec. 2(4).

Cost

According to CBO estimates conducted for identical legislation in the 113th Congress, implementing H.R. 719 would cost less than $500,000, assuming the availability of appropriated funds.  H.R. 719 would not affect direct spending or revenues.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.