Schumer: Memorial Day TSA Lines Still Too Long
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Disappointed by continued lengthy Memorial Day weekend security lines at New York City’s three major airports, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has outlined a new plan to bring more Transportation Security Administration agents to the area and speed the process nationwide of converting part-time agents to full-time.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson recently requested a reprogramming of $28 million to fund an immediate conversion of 2,784 Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) from part-time to full-time. Johnson also requested approval to hire an additional 600 agents in light of continued long lines at airport screening. Schumer says this new plan needs swift congressional approval and he will lead the charge to get it implemented as soon as possible.
“With out of control wait times at our nation’s airports, more could and should be done to help unclog the lines and improve security,” he said in a statement. “We desperately need to convert thousands of part-time TSA officers to full-time TSA officers in order to ward off the impending ‘flypocalypse’ that will ensue when the busy summer travel season soon begins. Congress should quickly approve this request and TSA should prioritize the hiring and conversion of these officers at local New York City-area airports.”
The TSA says this reprogramming request would enable the agency to screen approximately 82,000 additional passengers each day.
Schumer is also urging the TSA to prioritize transitioning a significant number of officers at New York airports to full-time status, as it will help provide some additional relief.
Specifically in New York, the three airports – LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy and Newark-Liberty – have each been allocated an additional 72 officers, for a total of 216 officers in the New York-metro area. Schumer also pushed for an increase in passenger-screening canine teams to work with new TSA agents at New York City airports, home to some of the busiest airports in the country. According to the Port Authority, 126 million air travelers utilize its airports each year.
Schumer said the TSA has already taken some necessary steps to address long wait times but more could and should be done.
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