WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, today presided over the subcommittee’s hearing to consider the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) budget request and priorities for FY2021. TSA Administrator David Pekoske provided testimony and answered questions from committee members on TSA’s funding and policy priorities.
“TSA has proven to be one of the most crucial components to the Department of Homeland Security’s mission of safeguarding our people, our homeland, and our values from current and emerging threats—both domestically and internationally,” Chairman Capito said. “As more passengers are traveling, TSA continually faces new challenges including keeping their own workforce safe. As the passenger volume continues to increase annually, I am committed to making sure TSA has the proper resources to sustain their current operational capacity. With the growing concern of coronavirus, I made it a point to raise this issue with the Administrator directly and hear more from him about TSA’s efforts to ensure their workforce and passengers are safe in the face of this virus. I look forward to building on the progress we made in the FY20 bill, which provided significant investments to support TSA’s workforce and the many travelers across our country.”
To watch Senator Capito’s opening statement, click here. To watch her first round of questions for TSA Administrator Pekoske, click here. Click here to watch Senator Capito’s second round of questioning.
ON THE CORONAVIRUS:
During the hearing, Chairman Capito took the opportunity to talk in-depth with Administrator Pekoske about the coronavirus. Specifically, she asked Administrator Pekoske how TSA is coordinating efforts with the appropriate health agencies, if they have the proper resources and capabilities, and how TSA is properly screening individuals as they enter the United States.
Senator Capito continues to be very focused on this issue and has met with a number of officials, including CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services (WVDHHS) Commissioner and State Health Officer Dr. Cathy Slemp, and others. During a Homeland Security Appropriations subcommittee hearing last week, Chairman Capito asked Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad Wolf about the department’s efforts to monitor and control the coronavirus. Click here for more details.
ON THE REAL ID COMPLIANCE:
Additionally, Chairman Capito expressed her concern with the looming deadline for REAL ID compliance, which is in eight months. Currently, only one-third of all licenses in use are REAL ID compliant. When asked by Chairman Capito how TSA is making sure the public is aware of the requirement, Administrator Pekoske assured the subcommittee that TSA is working with their staff, states, and the carriers to communicate this change directly with travelers.
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