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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 31, 2016 6:30pm-8:01pm EDT

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exploited with the actual transportation we see women being raped people are robbed and kidnapped and exploited for more money they are being transported because they're criminals they just want to get away after being caught by the police or a border control they can't walk anymore or they fell ill than they are abandoned in the desert we have seen over 33 deaths in the first six months with a number of different schemes
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with the passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles they tried to make it look like another industry but the fact that they are smuggling narcotics and then to be exploited as well. so that becomes somewhat dangerous and problematic it will be a 100-degree mark pretty soon in laredo and those people that our hidden in the back of those tractor-trailer's and there is no way to get out that becomes extremely dangerous and we try to identify data operation before what
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happened early the commodities come across as they are inspected by customs border protection field operation and once they do that they go to a warehouse where they are broken down into four or five different trucks it depends on this warehouse going through different distribution points throughout the country the products they're introducing are different areas of the country there are plenty of opportunities after that for that truck to be used in a smuggling even to so either people handling of narcotics so the checkpoint we need to
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be able to screen that traffic at the actual border area through the distribution center. >> how do you do that here? what process does it go through? >> we checked all passengers we talk to the driver's he looked at the commodities that they are transporting but we also have an act opportunity with a canine units not just the spots of the hidden narcotics but of the vehicles. >> and then we have a border patrol agents were using those inspection devices to
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look at the truck and trailer to see if there are any anomalies we have arrested over 17,000 people through march 31st so o talking about the fact these people that pay up to $60,000 at adds up to give you a of better context how much money they're making
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witnesses included local airport officials from tucson arizona thin the syracuse new york and chicago aviation department
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this hearing of the homeland security is chaired by representative cavaco. >> the subcommittee on transportation will come to order and ask unanimous consent the gentlewoman be able to sit during the hearing without objection so ordered. the subcommittee is leading to better understand their root cause of increased weight times on this important issue right now recognize myself for an opening statement as the summer holiday season approaches we're in the midst of a crisis airports american families are planning to enjoy their time off but the added pressure of the travel season is costing particular problems
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they will arrive airports only to be confronted with longer and longer lines at the tsa checkpoints causing some to return home after missing their flight or others to take up a temporary residence on a cot like we saw in chicago a few weeks ago unfortunately it is not isolated and we continue to receive reports around the country describing the ways the checkpoints are in excess of two hours on friday march 25 at 600 passengers missed their flight due to an apparent lack of manpower and efficiencies in fact, that airport was the forced to have the ground a stoppage due to delays at the checkpoints this is unacceptable and i with the american taxpayer expect security to be streamlined effective and efficient this committee has worked
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tirelessly to make sure the manpower and technology they need is there well tsa realizes the risen issue and communicated increased weight times should be expected they did not have a clearer picture of the resources they would need to tackle this problem and were not prepared. the budget requested not account for any increases of oversight or staffing there now requesting to meet the basic screening function to have passengers on cots is completely unacceptable without excessive weight time they made the decision to reallocate assets i and my colleagues are growing increasingly frustrated that tsa needs constant prodding to affect positive changes this committee has several pieces of by partisan
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legislation to improve checkpoint optimization but they refused to expedite passage with the esoteric theory how the agents can be run one of the fire bell is ringing for example, requiring tsa increasing the travelers into the system with a pre-checked checkpoints to alleviate the stress on the public checkpoints however due to a typical washington and texas this bill is stalled by read and commend it to my constituents to get things done last week i reconvened representatives of the airports across the country to discuss the crisis to hear directly what needs to be done it was very productive it does seem that
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the process of congress work sometimes if they need to collaborate with individual airlines for staffing levels on a local basis i have heard your message i will introduce the patients reacted 2016 to require tsa to maximize all available resources to give airports a seat at the table to make sure they're utilized in the most effective and efficient manner make no mistake security is first and foremost, those who continue to plot against the aviation community we must be able to confront them that tsa used to keep security to keep passengers moving through the system they have the capability to do that they have to address obstacles as they prepare themselves like we all do with our daily jobs thanks to the witnesses to take time out of their schedules and make multiple
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trips to washington at short notice i am fortunate to have the international airport that i fly in and out of each week is so well wailed machine compared to what i heard last week and i have one of the witnesses here to thank for that also to all of you to be here today thanks for being here want to hear how to move forward i now recognize the ranking member of the subcommittee for his opening statement and i like those glasses. [laughter] >> i wore them just for you. >> also thinks were holding this hearing it is good to have this immediately following the full committee hearing with the administrator yesterday the wait times with their nation's airport last week
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the transportation security administration reallocated resources for chicago midway international airport and liberty airport to decrease the link of screening lines and well given the opportunity the administration is taking steps to address problems in the interim we need to find a long-term solution one airforce restores will only fix the problem temporarily for this travel period nearly 740 million individuals use aviation travel that is most air travelers that this country has ever seen in contrast
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those responsible for screening have some of the lowest numbers we have seen in years this is due in large part under the former administrator the agency pivoted to risk-based security effort of mind that focused our resources on the end results however this methodology of such a with programs that were not sustainable such as management inclusion which has ceased since then although they're still using their risk-based approach to not take away from the fact amount of travelers compared
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to the number of people traveling is insufficient last week the subcommittee held a round table for the airports and many important things were discussed general agreements that but could be used in other roles in screeners and we learned yesterday to support the federal security directors having that flexibility and we heard a concern that the federal security had enough flexibility to operate necessary checkpoints the administrator testified yesterday he believed that they always had that flexibility and he would insure that they had this
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flexibility but now we can hear more perspectives from ticket stakeholders' ever more intimately involved with the airlines and airports as well i look forward to hearing your experiences throat this issue as well as how you view the steps that we take i would also like to think the president for being here to serve as a place representing the "frontline" in efforts for the commercial aviation sector doing an outstanding job screening passengers and often air fund fairly received a majority of the blame their perspective is vital in this conversation and with that idea back the balance of my time.
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>> of other members statements may be submitted for the record we have the distinguished panel here today serving as executive director at the international airport in syracuse president and ceo of tucson and arizona serving as managing deputy commissioner department of aviation in chicago senior vice president for customer service and american airlines and american federation of employees thanks for being here today i now recognize ms. callahan for an opening statement. >> thanks for inviting us today on an issue that
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requires immediate attention and long-term sustainable solutions how to handle the alliance that checkpoints across the country while maintaining a high standard for a package of baggage screening to keep the flying public safe a small commercial hub serving 2 million passengers annually providing services to central new york to play hundreds of people a vital component of our economy as origination and destination airport we are the departure point for 1 million outbound passengers every year while syracuse has not experienced the checkpoint times we your part of a national transportation system that links our passengers better represented today to work toward a solution as we enter one of the busiest travel season of the year to
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support syracuse as my fellow airport and to let go are examples of the steps we have taken to address our issues at home the top priority for airports above all else we are entrusted by the traveling public to provide safe and secure transportation checkpoint wait times that exceed one hour or longer has a negative impact on all elements of the transportation system passengers are frustrated taking the acreage out on employees and that anxiety caused of missing a flight creates an environment that is already challenging and difficult several factors had of been identified that include no increase in the
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number of officers between fiscal years 151016 the high rate of attrition and by the lengthy process to higher duteous those and the numbers combined that have led to recent events working together airlines and industry advocates with the recommendations focusing on key areas where staffing with enrollment and participation to modernize the airport infrastructure would do not support any new passengers but those fees that are currently being used to pay for other governments i will talk about pre-check at the airport last november when we unveil the role the
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center in syracuse and prove to be very successful currently almost 40 percent of the flying public is enrolled in pre-check while we believe this is the result to have the enrollment center in the terminal but the efforts to educate the public of the benefits have been very important while seemingly insignificant the role to incentivize those to give free parking has resulted in increased numbers not all airports are in in positions to offer incentives but it does encourage enough to spend enough time to enroll i would be remiss if i did not bring up the infrastructure we have spent time and money improving in our airport validating 21 n. central checkpoint.
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it was designed to bring baggage and alignment improved passenger screening and do screening equipment and has allowed us to implement new security requirements we're also on the cutting edge by the exit portals these allow to exit the concourse safely and securely without prevent teen reentry and the need to staff the exit lane saving the airport monday -- money and let me stress this project could not be possible without the facility charges from the airport.
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the plain is not fair and not a solution that we must work together with these underlying issues inclosing a right to offer my a gratitude to the members of the subcommittee for taking the time to listen to our concerns thanks for inviting us an your continued commitment to the airports and those who use them every day. >> i can tell you from personal experience is generally very pleasurable delete the difficult as we try to get a flight to kennedy and italy is a labor court appreciate your efforts your forward thinking by giving free parking like marketing that is thinking out of the box good stuff.
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>> thanks to be my we me in on these issues to be thus cl authority and related economic development including operations and maintenance of the airfield where she has experience in staffing with her career then moved to texas and whole the designation as an executive a past chairman of the international association and i yield back. thanks for the introduction honorable members of the committee it is a privilege
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to appear before you to discuss the challenges with passenger screening wait time. thanks for your leadership and for the protection of our passengers i was fortunate to participate in the round table and to be truly appreciative of that time with the cause of the checkpoint process to seek long-term solutions safety and security of people and property are of the highest private - - party we are the origination and destination airport all are screened by local tsa.
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the average age we times are 15 minutes rarely exceeding 25 minutes maximum even with 25 percent higher level travel than today. november to march is the busy season. >> i have to interject i caddish tell you that is not the high seas of. [laughter] -- season. >> we would lead you to visit in february. this year our visitors and our customers sometimes 45 or in excess of 60 minutes there is an exhibit'' my written testimony of a photograph of the passengers
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lining up across the terminal we have a whale team who are committed to the safety along with the officious screening of passengers unfortunately they lack the planning coordination and staffing resources needed to sufficiently process these times we lost between 10 and 13 percent of the workforce it was one full year before replacement of trained combined with increased passenger levels to have limited authority of those processing models to them it did not allow them to change and as a result i offer solutions for your consideration to open the
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communicate to better plan and allocate resources. and to be delegated within the parameters is ashley airports such as tucson those lines to be allocated the to the checkpoints combined between three and four. the staffing allocation model does not allow for changing conditions for the resources and personnel be made that our reach there is the highest their peak to
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best buy each year quiet port it will begin a than plus billion dollar project to improve and if they are not properly equipped and staffed all the resources will be lost. 12 luckies alone are a perfect fit working together we have the opportunity to solve the check when issues of the aviation system we commend you on the proposed legislation of the efficiency act of 2016 it will go a long way to provide solutions. . .
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we appreciate you being here today, and it is interesting to juxtapose your experience with what we experienced at syracuse. it seems like the larger the airport market the problems. i appreciate your testimony today. >> thank you. ranking member, members of the subcommittee for inviting me to testify today on this important issue of providing screening at airports. my name is lydia beer style. overseeing o'hare and midway international airports. chicago manages to the nation's busiest airports and is the only singles student -- single city system that serves as a hub
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for three major airlines. in 2015 98 million passengers pass through our ports combined. in 2016 and beyond those numbers are projected to grow. our airports serve as an economic engine contributing $45 billion in annual economic activity creating 540,000 jobs. they are major part of the system. passenger safety and security is our top priority in march suicide bombings of brussels airport killed 16 people in the airport check-in areas and 16 others in the city metro station. long security lines, large crowds of passengers are not just an inconvenience, they themselves exposed vulnerability. by more efficiently moving passengers and the screen and secured areas where increasing safety and
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security. this year there's been a 7 percent growth in passenger activity while tsa passenger levels decline. airports and airlines began raising concerns about security staffing for the summer travel season as early as last summer. by early may as our peak travel season started percent experiencing a total breakdown. passenger way times were consistently 60 minutes or more. airline passengers passengers have reported wait times as size 120 minutes with thousands of passengers missing flights. the delays we experienced or knowable unpreventable. staff resources went down and security operating procedures changed. moving forward to address these issues tsa resources are needed to increase passenger demand.demand. they need to manage existing resources better, flexibility and local
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authority to respond to situations on the ground. may 13 a traveler midway airport posted a youtube video documenting significant checkpoint lines. six out of 17 were staffed by tsa. the situation reached crisis point on sunday or without adequate staffing american airlines reported 543 passengers. secure immediate resource for the city. tsa since ansinton optimization teams. the converted over 160 part-timers to a full-time duty, increased over time
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provided eight additional k-9 teams to o'hare from around the country. we greatly appreciate the responsiveness and that resources arrive so quickly. we are working to assure silicon prompt responses to the needs and concerns of midway airport. this response is possible because congress approved tsa's programming requests average and maximum wait times, staffing and resource levels provided by tsa. in the short term in order to manage the spring and summer travel season ahead here are a few critical resources and management steps that we need to ensure happening. the allocate passenger screening teams based on the aviation system priorities.
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provide federal security director's the ability to make local decisions about manpower, allocation, and overturn. and sure checkpoints are open on time i was playing catch-up all day. streamlined tsa, and in the long-term need to be looking at ramping up resources. to prepare for future growth we need to start now as training can take up to eight months. page invest in security infrastructure and invest in technology solutions and enhanced security and achieve operational efficiencies. thank efficiencies. thank you for the opportunity to discuss is important and timely issues with you today.
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we are eager to work with you and secure needed resources to address short-term and long-term airport security challenges. >> thank you. much of what you describe to the end of your testimony is embodied in the bill. it is born out of our discussions with some of the folks in the audience today. and i appreciate that. the one thing you said the economy was the opening the gates on time. comment on this later, sometimes they open the gate about 530 in the morning the don't start screening passengers. american airlines which i know well. >> thank you for flying with us. good morning, chairman, congressmen, members of the
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subcommittee. senior vice president of customer experience at american airlines testifying on behalf of airlines for america. thank you for inviting me here to discuss the impact tsa security lines is having on our customers. there is nothing more important than the safety and security of passengers, employees, and cargo. for the plaintiffs are the frustrated and angry. implement solutions to the pressing problem of excessive wait times. last year programs that have been in place to drive efficiency and increase security throughput were eliminated without adding resources. the result isthe result is a screening process causing unacceptably long security lines and a frustrated
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public. our discussion reveals the other contributing factors. first it appears tsa did not address the staffing models after screening protocols are changed and tsa is experiencing abnormally high attrition is unable to obtain transportation security officers at tso's. a systemic slowdown in passenger processing resulting in the laser missed flights. year to date more than 70,000 american airlines customers have missed flights to do excessive wait times. the same challenges by gun screening of checked baggage and is also poor tsa function. this year alone over 40,000 checked bags40,000 checked bags were delayed and did not travel on a scheduled flight. to say customers are agitated is putting it
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mildly. we are also glad to see that tsa's recognition of k-9. tsa needs to do more to minimize the impact on summer travelers, and the overall economy. airlines are pitching in to do our part, committing millions of dollars to fund security functions so that tsa's can focus solely on screening customers. at american the summer we are adding an additional 4 million on top of the 17 million already plan to spend this year to facilitate passengers through tsa checkpoints. airlines havecheckpoints. airlines have advised customers to arrive at the airport two hours in advance of a domestica domestic flight and three hours part in international departure to ensure sufficient time to
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clear security. this added time is inconvenient and the likely effect was recalled trevor those are enough money with screening process. they are launching aggressive campaigns to promote pre-check. as pre-check and roman increases tsa must commit to keep project lines open and sufficiently staffed throughout the day, especially during peak travel times. industry is exploring ways to facilitate support for additional k-9 teams including whether tsa can use certified canine's mother governmental agencies to conduct passenger screening. and k-9 teams are deployed tsa can increase passengers going through pre- check. we are doing our part to help tsa managed through this challenge. however, airline actions alone will not solve the problem. we need a partner that will consider innovative ideas to mitigate wait times immediately in the long run. in the short term target resources tsa could declare
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an all hands on deck much like we do at airports during peak into regular operation. all available staff should be assigned to help a passenger screening checkpoints. resources should be prioritized. tsa could look at ways of to spur enrollment by streamlining the enrollment process. to ensure enrollment resources don't become a new bottleneck tsa should expedite a selection of third-party enrollment providers. we support the idea to give federal security directors the ability to cooperate with theirairline partners to make local decisions about manpower resource allocation without having to consult headquarters. all parties need to work collaboratively. full collaboratively. full transparency is required to engage all stakeholders and troubleshooting issues. we can'twe can't be a part of the solution if we don't have the facts. he applied tsa for the decision to stand up for
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national command center in this to daily stakeholder calls. in the long run tsa could review security protocols to ensure there are no unnecessary procedures. as part of the review tsa should consider additional method for increasing risk-based screening some of which were discontinued this year. they are eager to work to expedite next-generation screening technology putting innovation lanes. finally,finally, they must create a position that reports of the administrator to advocate for customers much as airlines and airports have executives dedicated to improving customer experience. these are just a few ideas that we can help reduce this congestion. congress can help by ensuring they have the tools and resources needed to improve screening including ensuring the passenger security feed collected goes to tsa.
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ultimately the issue is not created overnight, however we must work together to offer ideas and resources while administrator messenger have funding priorities in management practices. thank you for the opportunity to testify command i'm happy to answer any questions you might have. >> appreciate your testimony i now recognizei now recognize national president of american federation of government employees were testimony. >> thank you. i am proud to testify today on behalf of the 42,000 transportation security officers that stand on the side of the safety of the flying american public. they.to for issues that have inspired to produce the situation at airports we see
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today. the size of the workforce cannot keep pace with passenger volume. two, the volume. two, the budget was deprived of much-needed funding by the decision of congress to divert a portion of the security feed to deficit reduction. three, the focus on a patchwork of airline airport and contract employees shifted focus away from the workforce that is present and future of aviation security and they are subject to second-class treatment that hurts the morale of tso susana job and cause may experience creators to leave. as passenger volume has increased tsa lost over 5000 screeners and failed to replace them. the hiring was focused on part-time workers to have a much higher attrition rate.
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the staffing methodology and model depended on pre- check enrollment that never happened. congress cut the budget and imposed arbitrary the number of full-time screeners. staffing shortages are staffing shortages are obvious to the public because they experience long lines. least obvious how the effects of shortages on this trainings, meals and rest breaks, ms. position rotations that are necessary to keep your focus, canceled days off and months of mandatory overtime resulting in very tired and erratic scheduling. this is no way to run airport security. afg advocates an increase of 6,000 additional full-time tso's to the workforce, the
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figure represents the decrease in the size of tsa workforce since 2011 as passenger volume has grown 15 percent. they call on congress to end arbitrary and severe on full-time tso. the 1st $0.60 of the $5.60 security fee per employment to the treasury it deprives the agency of 1.25 billion dollars each year. it is isyear. it is time for congress to dedicate the proceeds of the security feed to tsa to be used for its intended purpose, funding the agency security mission and hiring staff.staff. introducing airline and airport employees and private contract employees into the framework of checkpoint security is at best a temporary bandage. years of on-the-job
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experience and commitment to the public of the services that are lost when the tso workforce is replaced with airport and airline employees. airport authority should be aware they will not get more screeners in the screening partnership program and that there are long checkpoint waits at airports with private screeners. despite the importance of the work they receive second-class treatment from their employer, the federal government. the only federal agency that is allowed to excuse himself from the fundamental workplace rights and protections found in title five of the us code. they do not follow the fair labor standards act and the office of personnel management guidelines, they do not have statutory title vii protection against discrimination, and they are not paid under the general schedule like the majority of federal workforce. they lack the ability to appeal adverse personnel actions to a neutral 3rd
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party is in the management has that right. to paraphrase, justice delayed has been justice denied. it is well within the authority of both the congress and tsa to provide tso's assam workplacetso's the same workplace rights and protections as i federal workers. where's the administrator to apply title v rights andfive rights and protections to the workforce. congress should pass hr 4488 , the rights of transportation security officers act introduced by representative bennie thompson. the bill requires that follow the same workplace rules as most agencies in the federal government. congress should ensure the funding to provide 5% retention raises5 percent retention raises to tso's have been on the job for two or more years. transportation security officers do all they can the
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spring passengers. that is passengers. that is why we pledge to work with psa, congress command the public on a solution for the long lines. they are asking for a seat at the table to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. thank you very much. >> thank you. we appreciate being here today. it is very interesting a part-time employee attrition rate is nearly triple that of full-time employees. i now recognize myself for five minutes of questions. one of the overarching observations, two things, tsa, the expansion is critically important and also field service directors
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, it was a revelation alla revelation all of us the field service directors really have their hands tied to some extent with respect to making staffing allocation decisions and often times are not interacting in an appropriate manner with airports and airlines in the field. our bill addresses all of those things. i will start with the tsa pre- check program. >> that's correct. >> what type of an impact as that had? >> we are seeing wait times on average of anywhere between 12 and 15 minutes. when i flew out this morning and the 1st experiencing that, and it has helped to balance the distribution of pre- check in on pre- check employees which is really
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430 and solo 7:00 a.m. >> our discussions at times the pre- check is not always open. is it fair to say that aa pre- check were expanded dramatically that it would allow those lanes to be open on a more regular basis? >> customers in rural and pre- check in the enrollment rates tend to be higher. they build that expectation and other schedules in terms of what flights the book, and it is a service that the tsa is selling. people are incredibly frustrated. the screening procedures are
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much faster so the transaction time for customers lower therefore we get many more customers through the check point safely and efficiently. we are a big fan of expanding it. >> i take it all of you are. >> the one issue, pre- check is helping. continue decrease in staffing that continues to perpetuate the problem. the real issue is that we have adequate staffing. >> if you had 20 million people enrolled nationwide and you have the throughput for pre- check individuals double the time for others. >> it would definitely help with stress on the system.
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>> that is something we need to address. the field service director, it was shocking to me that they were not interacting with airports on a regular basis. could you comment on that? >> sure. when it comes to staffing allocation models we encourage tsa to provide greater transparency. >> i'm sorry. so excuse me. one of the things proposing the bill is you mandate that
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they meet with the airport directors and airlines the staffing allocation models and on the national level. staffing earlier. is that right? >> we had a meeting yesterday. in syracuse 40 of the airports at that meeting, and in-depth detailed briefing on our planned for the summer travel season.
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very reactive to issues. >> in one of the things i want to do with this bill is on tyler hands to some extent from administrative stand point. they need to have more flexibility with respect to their decision-making ability. they say look, we're going to crushed. that's what you get. they have to have the flexibility to create more overtime, bring more people in. so i appreciate that. one of the things i have been thinking about how we talked about the staffing issues in the attrition rate , if there is money reallocated from other parts
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of tsa to staffing, when it makes sense to take a lot of these individuals that are part-time now, make them full-time and thereby reduce the attrition rate considerably? >> yes. administrator spoke with me yesterday and said his attrition rate full-time tso's and 78 percent. but it's over 20 percent of part-time. people want full-time employment. they will go to other federal jobs. it would help fix a lot of the problems. >> of course that would benefit, moving from full-time to part-time doesn't take additional training.
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>> they are ready to go many of them. already working 40 hours a week or more. there is a. congress to fix that it would help. >> thank you. i recognize the ranking member for five minutes of questions. >> thank you. and. >> without objection so ordered.
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>> in response to the issue at the airport and others around the nation, secretary johnson announced plans to address the lines. i have the administration's response to the wait times within your airport. then effective end have not had a positive we have the additional resources coming in. but you have not heard how it has impacted the rate -- the way times. >> sure. as. tsa has provided 50 additional officers. shift moving over hundred 60 part-time officer still
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full-time help tsa addressed the peak period both the mailing p.m. shift, tripling the amount of overtime laws and open checkpoints early so that they are not behind the curve, adding morning shifts for tsa screeners in the additional k-9 teams at o'hare and around the country has proven incredibly helpful. the teams alone for allowing us to move roughly 5,000 passengers a day through pre- check. >> so what would you say the way time as opposed to what they were are now? >> sure. at midway airport the way times with k-9 teams can be 20 to 30 minutes during peak period. without them they can reach 60 to 90. we are seeing a great impact.
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>> we really have had the same experiences in chicago based on the home and also with the port authority having three airports under its purview. it has been aa major, major hangup with the way times. and we have had resources moved. it has dramatically impacted the ability of passengers in a timely manner. it is in your testimony, you know that they could be useful in other positions. could you expand on that? your thoughts on achieving
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efficiencies using that behavior detection officer? >> thank you, representative. yes, the behavioral detection officers are trained in receiving people who are going to do something that is not direct , maybe illegal, maybe trying to smuggle something potentially terrorist ties. by having them as the ticket document checkers they have a personal connection to every single passenger that goes through, and they can screen each individual as opposed to standing to the side of the back of the line where they are observing behavior. they can better detect people who may need additional screening. this is a model that is used overseas. it has been quite effective. >> and my time is winding
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down. i just wanted to say, all throughout this discussion over the past several weeks i have the tso's in mind and made sure my colleagues have some idea of what they go through in the string that they are under based on these long wait times as well. and they are our last line of defense. we need to make sure that they have the resources that they need in order to do the job. they have to be right hundred percent of the time. just wanted to put that on record. >> thank you. the chair will now recognize other members of the
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subcommittee for five minutes for questions. in accordance with committee rules plan to recognize members who were present at the start of the hearing by seniority than others with the visiting committee this morning. this common in late will recognize the order of their arrival. the gentleman from georgia for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank all of you for being here. i am glad to see you because i have important questions to ask. i have the honor and privilege of representing the 1st congressional district of georgia which includes the entire coast of georgia. georgia is unique in the sense that we have a lot of small airports comeau, the busiest airport in the country. in the world. and that presents a dilemma. i want to ask you questions, and i am interested to know
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your responses. while we have been hearing and what i have been hearing from a lot of the airport officials is that there exists someone of a disconnect between the ts -- the local tsa officials, the airlines, airport officials command and upper management , management with tsa appear in washington dc. have any of you experience that? whoever, just quickly. >> yes. i think that it is -- each airport is different. the relationships that exist our local independent on the people within the organization those reports. i imagine in atlanta is much more difficult than it is in syracuse where we have access on a regular
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day-to-day basis. that is what i can offer. >> anyone else? >> representative, tucson previously had one until two years ago. we had an excellent relationship with our local screening managers and our local personnel. they now have many layers to go through, and models and requirements are dictated, command i cannot personally say from where, certainly above, the ability to be able to react quickly to issues on the ground. that is what we experienced during our peak period in february and march. there were only allowed to open the pre- check lane after they had opened a 2nd standard lane because of staffing the make up in the pre- check. when they opened pre- check the lines were cut in half.
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having the ability to do that would be helpful. >> has anyone had any experience with private security? any of you? [inaudible] >> am sorry, say again. >> a few of the airports. >> can you give me your impression? what has been the result? >> i will just use san francisco is an example. because the privatized airports, the way the privatized model yesterday follows the same procedures and staffing allocation models as other airports. >> i hope that my colleagues her death. they have to follow the same rules and regulations, everything is the same. and tsa overseas it. >> that's my understanding. >> we really see that as
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long as the operation is properly resourced we are able to have effective and efficient screening. the key is making sure the resource allocation meets the peak needs. >> am going to ask you directly. can you give me an idea why it appears to me and from what i have heard they do a better job and save money. >> we believe the tso's, number one is a professionalized workforce. they do a great job and have been trained to do so. the record speaks clearly, since september 1111th we have not had asked them terrorism in this country.
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we had a privatized workforce on september 11 command we saw what happened, ts brought to its knees. the government has been taking care of that. a real problem is a lack of staffing. >> i understand and appreciate what you are saying, but i am convinced that the private industry can do this just as well with oversight and save money and improve customer service and decrease the long lines that we are experiencing an hour airports, and they go through the same training. all of the tsa still as oversight. the responsibility. i think it is unfair to compare what happened between privatization being run by the public. we were all asleep at the wheel then. >> i agree. i was watching fox news last sunday and one of the
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commentators was at the san francisco airport complaining about the long lines, the rudeness of the officers and the various incidents going on and said, this is a classic example of why it needs to be privatized,privatized, and i busted out laughing because it is a privatized airport. she was not atlanta miami want one of those that was not privatized. she was in san francisco complaining. >> you know comeau what i would like to see is a comparison. this is something that is very important, and if we can improve it because you mentioned the disconnect between washington and the local officials, this is something we have got to work on, what happens when the bureaucracy gets out of control which is what i
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think we are headed within that right now, the bureaucracy is out of control. we need to get it under control. i have gone past my time, but this is an important subject to me. what you are telling me, i'm having different views expressed to me by other people. i will continue to search and try to see what we can come up with. >> thank you. i ask unanimous consent that the gentle lady from taxes be permitted to sit on the days participate in the hearing. >> i express my appreciation to the chairman and ranking member. this is a committee that i have a great affection for because i indicated before that the tso's of the 1st
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line of defense, if you will the neighborhood of the nation's aviation security. let me thank all of you for your presence. i have some direct questions, and i want to raise a series of questions. more recruitment, increased salaries. i would ask the representative from the chicago illinois the admiral was here just yesterday -- excuse me, just yesterday and understand that the way it has gone to 15 minutes. i would like to see, you obviously you today thursday. i would like to hear your assessment, house the lines improved? >> considerably.
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>> there has been effects, if you will command we have to see that it is consistent. >> a permanent fix. >> that is even better. out of more.add more. there is a task force command he has added more employees. >> it is a temporary right now. >> the extended overtime allows frankly shifts. >> is there a problem? there is a screening and in the baggage check. >> it is not surfaced.
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>> the problem is been. we expect to continue to work with you. >> would you say they are professionally management level? >> yes, absolutely. >> thank you. i see there are other airports. is that airline representative? have you been able to work by way of getting your concerns to gsa? should we facilitate better communication protocols when there are concerns? >> we have been working collaboratively and effectively with the tsa at the headquarters level as well as at the local level. the airlines are taking action in collaboration with the tsa and also promoting many of the actions of the tsa is suggesting and already taking and also the
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actions that are contained in the chairman's propose legislation. >> which means that you would be willing to pay for overtime? >> you know, right now we really want to get more transparency in the staffing model and understand how resources are being deployed. we need to make sure that we have an analytical model that puts resources where they need to be to meet the peak demands of our customers. >> and i agree with you. and more flexibility call it that be helpful? >> in cooperation with airline partners. >> would you join with us? we need more data regarding the baggage fees. this should be an assessment as to whether or not they do increase the number coming through by hand carry. >> may i comment on that? the airlines have been charging checked baggage
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fees since 2008. the line weights we are experiencing this year unprecedented. i think it would be inaccurate to say the back fees are leaving to the current line white that we are experiencing. you mentioned -- >> may i interject for a moment? we know we have had a sizable increase in passenger travel. my only question is, we all have our different perspectives. i'm just offering colleges participating collaborate on getting the data we need to understand the question better? >> we are interested in collaborating to solve the problem. baggage screening is also a core function of tsa and even though we had heard from my colleagues in chicago we are not had severe issues. smaller other airports of experience significant backlogs. >> what we want to do is fix the checkpoint.
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i know you have homes like miami, so we want to fix the problem. the me quickly moved fun light. ihave traveled to many airports come i take the opportunity to speak to tso's everywhere i go, and i will say that iran in the one individual while world war ii veteran can was dropped off of family, traveling by himself. i don't want anybody else. come out to the curb. they went out to the curb and ticking at the wheelchair all the way through security getting to the gate getting down to the door of the plane and noted that this proud world war ii
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veteran have been dropped off by his family members, should i meant well me could not walk. i think these are the stories that need to be told >> we are crunched for time. >> please hurry. >> thank you. i support a professional staff not privatization. >> we clearly believe that a professional staff, our government employees, this is an inherently governmental function to keep the american public safe. his people are well trained.trained. they do a great job. they love their job. they just need adequate staffing to be able to do their jobs and to do them properly, and i think of the committee really wants to get legislation that tries to get the input the
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collaboration, that it would be important that a it's ge the employees represent be included legislation as one of the partners trying to resolve the problem. >> thank you very much. i yield back. >> thank you. the chernow recognizes the patient's from arizona. >> thank you. in the roundtable last weekend testimony today we heard one of the main issues is flexibility so that they can make decisions on the ground but also for the supervisors and airports like tucson. was asked the question yesterday and he said he has given that flexibility. i felt like i was listening the parallel universes. he believes they already have some flexibility. it isit is unbelievable to me it would take an act of
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congress to direction to provide flexibility. this is leadership 101, but he believes he has given that authority. i asked yesterday about this and he said they have all the authority they need. maybe they are just not getting the message. he just recently removed kelly hogan potentially is the barrier to distraction being communicated down to you, but we need your immediate feedback. he gave his promise yesterday that he would follow up and make sure they understood his guidance. can you share? you have given examples. if we have the flexibility in the last few months what other instances, where there hands tied and what would have changed morecomeau what would you be able to do in order to alleviate the problems? >> thank you, representative. we were experiencing the extreme lines, the challenge
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our local representative had the fact that there are specific models that throughput has to go through before the 2nd lane can be opened up. with one standard lane then the 2nd had to be opened before pre- check. where pre- check is the quick resolution because the land was cut in half when pre- checkpoint was opened. >> that direction came from dc or phoenix. >> phoenix came down on the passengers were calling the media from the lines in the media began showing up. it all exploded. >> is that still the case? >> with staffing, yes. they are limited on
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staffing. i can't tell you exactly how many more. >> are there any other situations where you saw hands were tied they could have moved to the checking ids? >> yes. we have been asking for document checkers since the problems for started with the holidays. rfs be in phoenix refused saying that it was important for them to be observing the line, the people online as opposed to being able to be document checkers. i think all that is changed. >> he said you appreciate the assistance. there was a big media attention to the problems of chicago and then additional
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agents and k-9 teams came to the rescue. whatrescue. what we are last week is the feeling is that this sort of squeaky wheel move assets around allows one of the airport managers say something along the lines that we all get a turn to be the worst. which means you will just create a crisis somewhere else. i am concerned that this is more like workable as opposed to a strategic model that will address these issues that will be robbing for medium and small airports. can anyone provide some perspective and concerns? >> if i can give an example. the passenger screening which we borrowing have been reallocated from other airports, those kinds of resources really need to be allocated based on airports passenger throughput.
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those are the kind of things >> yesterday i asked about something that was really troubling, we had instances of at least 250 through april that have been reported for tsa agents have been polling from the primary mission was security of your travel and the efficiency and safety of passion to travel the support things like presidential campaign rallies. this is nowhere in core competency. please comment on your perspectives now you all feel about that.
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>> we expected them to do there core mission to do the call work, as with any situation you do understand the workers don't get to drive the train. they just show up and do with the boss man tells them to do. i know our tso's want to be at the airport doing their mission taking care of it. it upsets someone lines are long and passengers are waiting because passengers give more frustrated, and i would say if you really want to resolve a lot of these problems we can talk to fsg's committee can talk to the administrator, but administrator, but congress probably needs to mandate that there be were groups made up of tso's themselves, the people who actually do the work can tell you how to improve the process. i know american airlines does it all the time. i know all of these airports do that. we need to be talking to the front-line employees, and
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they could give a lot of solutions. they cannot necessarily give more resources are more people comeau what ii am sure that they know how to improve the work processes. >> thank you. i agree. we need to make sure large-scale events of safety and security, but there are other ways to do that then pull agents that have a core responsibility of safety of your travel in order to do that. i will follow-up and appreciate the leverage. >> i like to thank the witnesses for their thoughtful testimony. we may have additional questions for all of you and will ask you to respond to those in writing. the hearing record will be held open for ten days. before we close, if we have more time we could go on all day, but the beauty of this hearing was the input of follow-up of stakeholders at the table those sitting in the audience last week which helped us become very prepared for testimony.
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i think what has transpired is that we looked at a crisis, got was stakeholders, listened to you, crafted a bill. i am excited about that. frustration comeau we are moving these things. tell the senate to do their job as well. only can act like this in a collaborative manner, that is when congress really works. thank you all for coming here. i know it's an early flight for some of you. we were working until about 1230 in the house up at five. thank you all very much. >> mr. chairman, just an observation before we close. this makes alley, you should have not left homeland.
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i see more now. >> the chair of the other subcommittee. >> thank you so very much. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> who she represents and the laws on the book related to citizenship and deportation and alfredo -- dallas morning news examines the cartels in mexico including the violence and smuggling of human narcotics. on thursday our focus will be trade, the trade reporter with san antonio express will express the flow volume of trade across the laredo border. congressman henry of texas will join us at to talk about how trade benefits laredo in the country. then bob catch, state director of the texas fair trade commission looks at how the trade deal took jobs from southern texas to mexico.
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