tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN May 27, 2016 6:00am-7:01am EDT
where without adequate staffing american airlines reported 543 passengers were impacted by long lines. united airlines experienced 37 flight delays and rebooked over 4,300 passengers, many of which, as you noted, chairman, stayed overnight at the airport sleeping on cots. mayor rahm emanuel worked with key officials from dhs, tsa, and members of chicago's congressional delegation to secure immediate resources for the city. tsa sent in optimization teams, they committed to add 58 officers to o'hare, converted over 160 part timers to a full time duty, increased overtime and provided by eight additional canine teams to o'hare from around the country. we greatly appreciate administrator neffenger's responsiveness and that resources arrive sod quickly for o'hare.
we are working to ensure similar promise responses to the needs and concerns at midway airport. this response was possible because congress approved tsa's reprogramming request and we were grateful to you for taking that quick action. to ensure transparency, we will be releasing a biweekly score card showing average and maximum wait times, staffing and resource levels provided by by tsa. in the short term, in order to manage the spring and summer travel season ahead there are a few critical resources and management steps that we need to ensure are reallocate passenger screening canine teams, ensure tsa is transparent about its staffing allocation models and level, transportation transparency helps us better
predict potential staffing strategies and shortages. provide federal security directors the ability to make local decisions about manpower, allocation and overtime. ensure checkpoints are open on time or risk playingup all day. screen line tsa pre-enrollment process. in the long term, we need to be looking at ramping up resources including passenger screening canines to prepare for future growth, we need to start now as training canine cans take approximately eight months. we need to invest in security infrastructure and checkpoint expansion projects and informs in technology solutions that enhance security and achieve operational efficiencies. thank you for the opportunity to discuss these important and timely issues with you today. we are eager to work with you and secure needed resources to address short-term and long-term airport security challenges. >> thank you ms. baeirsto, much of what you described in your testimony is embodied in the bill we'll present to congress
and it's borne out of our discussion with some of the folks in the audience today, last week and some of you and appreciate that. it's important. one side thing you said that caught me was the opening -- opening the gates on time. because i understand -- and perhaps you can comment on this later, sometimes they open the gate at 5:30 in the morning but don't start screening passengers because they have to calibrate the machines and stuff and once the backup starts you can't catch up. that's poor planning. i now recognize ms. carrie philipovich which i know very well because i fly american every week. >> thank you very much. my name is carrie philipovich testifying on behalf of airlines for america. thanks for inviting me to discuss the impact tsa security
lines is having on our customers. there's nothing more important to the the airline industry than the safety and security of our passengers, employees and cargo. we have never seen tsa wait times that affect airlines and passengers throughout the united states like we've seen in recent months. without immediate leadership, the 231 million earn a americans that will board airplane this is summer will be frustrated and angry. last year, programs that had been in place were eliminated without adding resources required to support longer passenger processing times. the as a result that screening process caused unacceptably long security lines and a frustrated flying public. our discussions with tsa revealed three other contributing factors. first, it appears tsa did not adjust its staffing model after screening protocols were
changed. second, tsa is experiencing abnormally high attrition and is unable to retain transportation security officers, or tsos, third, the pre-check program which allows passengers to go through expedited screening hasn't met enrollment goals. these caused a slowdown in passenger processing at security checkpoints resulting in delays and missed flights. year to date, more than 70,000 american airlines customers have missed flights due to excessive wait times. the same challenges at the passenger checkpoints bog down screening of checked baggage which is also a poor tsa function. this year alone over 40, 000 checked bags were delayed in tsa screening and didn't travel on their scheduled flight. to say customers are agitated is putting it mildly and the public outcry resonated. congress recently reallocated $34 million in funding to the tsa to hire more toss by june 15.
we are glad to see tsa is working to shift canine teams to airports experiencing the worst delays, prebalancing staffing and hiring more tsos. however, tsa needs to do more and more collaboration is needed to minimize the impact on summer travelers, airports, airline employees and the overall economy. airlines are pitching in to do our part. we are committing millions of dollars to fund non-security functions like bin running and queue management to tsa cans focus soilly on screening customers. at american we are adding $4 million on top of the $17 million already planned to spend this year to facilitate passengers through tsa checkpoints at our largest airports. airlines have advised customers to arrive at the airport two hours in advance of a domestic flight and three hours prior to an international departure to ensure specific time. this added time in the travel process is inconvenient and will likely affect less frequent travelers not familiar with the screening process. we are launching aggressive campaigns to promote pre-check
to customers and employees. as pre-check enromment increases, tsa must commit to keep lanes open and staffed throughout the day, especially during peak travel times. the industry is exploring ways to facilitate support for additional canine teams, including whether tsa can use certified canines from other governmental agencies to conduct passenger screening. when canine teams are deployed, tsa can increase passengers going through pre-check. we as an industry are doing our part to help tsa manage through this challenge. airline actions alone cannot solve the problem. we need a partner in tsa that will consider innovative ideas to mitigate wait times immediately and in the long run. in the short term to augment resources tsa could declare all hands on deck for the summer much like we do at our airports during peak and irregular operations. all available staff should be assigned to help at passenger screening checkpoints. tsa resources should be
prioritized base on airports with the most need and projected traffic volumes. tsa could look at ways to spur enrollment by scream linetreamlining the process. to ensure enrollment resources don't become a new bottleneck, tsa should expedite its selection of third party enrollment providers. we support the idea to give directors the ability to corporate with their airline partners to make decisions without having to consult tsa head courters. all parties need to work collaboratively to manage through the summer. full transparency to staffing models and performance data is required to en ed tod to engage stakeholders. we can't be part of the solution if we don't have the facts. to that point, we applaud tsa for its decision to stand up a national command center and ins tuts daily stakeholder calls to better prepare for each day's challenges. in the long run, tsa could review current security prose
calls to ensure there are no unnecessary procedures, as part of this review, tsa should consider additional methods some of which were discontinued. airlines and airports are eager to work with tsa to expedite next generation screening technology including innovation lanes. finally tsa must create a position that reports to the administrator to advocate for customers within the tsa, much as airlines in many airports have executives dedicated to improving customer experience. these are a few idea airlines believe can help reduce the congestion. and congress can help by ensuring administrator neffenger and his team have the tools and resources needed to improve screening, including ensuring that the passengers security fee collected for tsa goes to tsa. ultimately, the tsa screening issue was not created overnight and won't be solved overnight. however, we must work together to offer ideas and resources to tsa while administrator neffenger and his team review current screening protocols, funding priorities and management practices.
>> thank you for the opportunity to testify today and i would be happy to answer any questions you might have. >> thank you ms. philipovich, appreciate your testimony and we'll have several follow-up questions for all of you, of course. i recognize david cox, national president of the american federation of government employees for his testimony. mr. cox? >> thank you, mr. chairman, representative payne, members of the committee. i am proud to testify today on behalf of the 42,000 transportation security officers, tsos that afe represents that stand on the side of the safety of the flying american public tsos point to four issues have conspired to produce the acute situation at airport wes see today. one, the size of the size of the tso work force didn't keep pace with passenger volume. two, tsa's budget was deprived of much-needed funding by the decision of congress to divert a portion of the security fee to deficit reduction.
three, the focus on the patchwork of airline, airport and contract employees shifted focus away from the tso work force that is present and future of aviation security. and, four, tsos are subject to second-class treatment that hurts the morale of tsos who stay on the job and causes too many experienced screeners to leave tsa. as passenger volume has increased 15% between 2013 and 2016, tsa lost almost 5,000 screeners and failed to replace them. tsa's hiring was focused on part time workers who have a much higher attrition rate than full time tsos. tsa staffing methodology and model depending on pre-check enromments that never happened. congress cut the budget for tsa personnel and imposed aarprbitrary caps on the number of full time screeners.
staffing shortages are obvious to the public because they experience long lines. lease obvious are the affect of shortages on the tso work force, missed trainings, meals and rest breaks, missed position rotations that are ness to keep your focused. canceled days off and months of mandatory overtime resulting in very tired and erratic scheduling scheduling. this is no way to run airport security. afg advocates an increase of 6,000 additional full time tsos to the work force. the figure represents the decrease in the size of tsa work force since 2011 as passenger volume has grown 15%. afg also calls on congress to end the arbitrary and severe cap on full-time tsos. when congress voted to diverse 60 cents of the $5.60 security fee per enplanement to the
treasury rather than tsa, it deprive it had agency of $1.25 billion, that's billionle with a "b" dollars each year. it's time for congress to dedicate the proceeds of the security fee to tsa to be used for its intended purpose -- funding the agency's security mission and hiring 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 experience and commitment to the public are the services that are lost when the tso work force is replaced with airport and airline employees. airport authorities should be aware that they are not going to get more general year under the screening partnership program and that there are long
checkpoint waits at airports with private screeners. despite the importance of their work, tsos receive second class treatment if their employer, the federal government. tsa is the only federal agency that is allowed to excuse itself from the fundamental workplace rights and protections found in title v of the u.s. code. tsa does not follow the fair labor standards act and the office of personnel management guidelines on leave. tsa does not have statutory title vii protections against discrimination and they are not paid under the general schedule like that majority of federal work force. tsos lack the ability to appeal adverse personnel actions to a neutral third party like the merit system protection board even though tsa management has that right.
to paraphrase the late dr. martin luther king, jr., justice delays has been justice denied to the tso work force. it's well within the authority of the congress and the tsa to provide tsos the same workplace rights and protections as other federal workers. we urge administrator neffenger to apply title v rights and protections to the tso work force. congress should pass hr 4488, the rights of transportation security officers act introduced by representative benny thompson and anita loy. the bill requires thesa follow the same workplace rules as most agency in the federal government. congress should also ensure funding to tsa to provide 5% retention raises to tsos who have been on the job for two or more years. transportation security officers do all they can to screen passengers. that's why afg pledges to work
thesa, congress and the public on solutions for the long lines and, mr. chairman, afge is asking and seeking a seat at the table to be part of the solution, not part of the problem in what we are currently experiencing in tsa. thank you very much for allowing me today and i'll be glad to take any questions. >> thank you for your testimony. we appreciate you being here today. and bring recognize myself for five minutes of questions, i want to note that it's very interesting that part time employee attrition rate is nearly triple of that full time employees at tsa. and that's something i want to talk about in a few moments time. i want to recognize myself for five minutes of questions. one of the overarching observations from speaking you to last week at the panel, two things, tsa expansion of tsa's critically important and also field service directors was a revelation to all of us that field service directors are really have the hands tied to some extent with respect to making staff and allocation
decisions and oftentimes are are not interacting in an appropriate manner with the airplanes and airlines in the field. our bill addresses all of those things. i'll start with the precheck program. miss callahan, you stated that 40% now of the syracuse airport is on precheck? >> that's correct. >> what type of an impact has that had on the airport and through put of passengers? >> we're seeing wait times on average between 12 and 15 minutes. when i flew out this morning, i had a first experience seeing that and it really has helped to balance the distribution of precheck and noncheck employees during the peak periods which for us is really 4:30 until about 7:00 a.m. >> right. and if any of can you answer this question, there's discussions at times that precheck isn't always open. and i've experienced that
myself. it's frustrating to me being chairman of this subcommittee. but is it fair to say that if precheck were expanded dramatically like it's intended to be that it would allow the lanes to be open to more regular basis because the staffing would warrant it. is that correct? can anyone answer that? role inmers and heck and the -- prec enrollment rates tend to be higher the more frequently the customers travel. they build that expectation of having precheck available into their schedules in terms of what flights they book and when the meetings end and the like. and it's a service that the tsa is selling. people are paying for. so people are incredibly frustrated customers when they come and find the lines closed. the screening procedures and precheck are much faster so the transaction time per customer is lower and, therefore, we can get many more customers through the
check point both safely, securely, and efficiently with more people in precheck. so we're a big fan of expanding it. >> i take all of you are. is that right? yes. you're all nodding your head. it seems apparent. >> the one issue that we constantly find precheck is helping but as we have continued decrease in staffing, that continues to perpetuate the problem no matter whether we hae precheck or number the real issue is we have to have adequate staffing in tsa. >> that's understood. fair to say, is it not, mr. cox, that if you had 20 million people enrolled in precheck nationwide or 30 million enrolled and you had the through put for precheck individuals are double the time it is for others, it would have less stress on the system. you'd have to acknowledge. >> it would definitely have less stress on the system. but if we keep losing 5,000 every several years, that's going to have stress on the system. >> and that's something we need to address, for sure. now, with respect to the field
service directors, it was really shocking to me that they weren't interacting with some of the airports, especially the major airport onz a regular basis with respect to the staffing allocation models. so you could comment on that for a moment? >> we encourage tsa to provide greater transparency so airport as and our airline partners can better plan and schedule around staffing shortages and the like. >> all right. i'm sorey. i referred to miss fields as service director and my able staffer said it's federal service director. so excuse me. one of the things we propose in the bill you is take the fsds and mandate they meet with the airport directors and airlines on a regular basis and that they discuss staffing allocation models. and then certify us to that they're actually doing. that we're asking that to be
done on the local level and on the national level. i think we're hoping that's going to have an impact. if i understand from speaking you to earlier last week that you do that now on a regular basis. is that right? >> yes, sir, we do. in fact, we had a meeting yesterday with our federal security director and his assistants from albany to buffalo. a meeting held in syracuse. 406 the airports in new york state were at that meeting. we had an indepth detailed briefing on the plans for the summer travel season, how we can work together and collaborate to address some of the issues. and my fsd oversees 14 airports. so to see him on a monthly basis is really incredible that he has time to do. that but he's very responsive and reactive to issues. >> that's good. one thing we want to do in this
bill is to untie their hands to some extent from administrative standpoint. i believe that they need to have more flexibility with respect to their decision making authority on the front line. if you get a call from american airlines or chicago and say we're going to get crushed. we sold a bunch of tickets, whatever, let's work together and figure out how to do that. they have to have the flexibility to grant more overtime and have the flexibility to be able to bring more people in. that's what we are contemplating on this bill and based on our discussion with all of you. i appreciate that. mr. cox, one of the things i've been thinking about when you were talking about some of the staffing issues and the attrition rate is if there's some money that is reallocated, if that's a right term, to -- from other parts of tsa to staffing, it would make sense to take a lot of individual that are part time now and make them full time and reducing the attrition rate considerably for
some of them at least? >> yes, sir that, would definitely help with that situation. administrator neffinger spoke with me and said the attrition rate with full time tsos was around 7%-8% but again, it's over 20% in the part time people. people want full time employment. they will go to other federal jobs or other jobs in the airport seeking full time employment. so moving that money to getting them full time would definitely help fix a lot of the problems. >> ok. and, of course, added benefit during this crisis, if you will, that we're having in airports is that moving someone from full time to -- from part time to full time doesn't take any additional training. >> it doesn't. they're ready to go. many of them in peak times are already working 40 hours a week or possibly more than 40 hours a week. so they're ready to go. so if congress could fix that, that would help with a lot of
the situation. >> thank you very much, mr. cox. i have so many more questions. i can't go over my time too much here. i now recognize the ranking member mr. payne for five minutes of questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and, you know, i ask unanimous consent that two letters from afg to president obama and secretary johnson be inserted in the record. >> without objection, so ordered. >> thank you. in response to the issues that your airport and others aren't nation, secretary johnson and administrator neffinger announced plans to address the lines including additional resources.
has the administration's response to the wait time within your airports been effective and have it has a positive infecteffect to this point. we have the additional resources coming in but have not heard how it has impacted your wait times in a positive manner. >> sure. it has. tsa provided 58 additional officers. the shift of moving over 160 part time officers to full time help tsa address the peak periods both in the a.m. shifts and the p.m. ssifts. tripling the amount of overtime
allows them to open checkpoints early so they're not behind the curve. they have proven incredibly helpful. the canine teams alone are allowing us to move roughly 5,000 passengers a day through precheck. >> what would you say are the wait times now specifically? at midway airport, canine -- with the wait times with canine teams can be 20 to 30 minutes during peak periods. without them, they can reach 60 to 90 minutes. >> ok. we're seeing great impact on the canines. thank you for asking. >> you know, i have newark international in my district. so we are really have had the same experiences that you've been having in chicago based on the hub that we are and also wih the port authority having three
airports under its per view. it's been a major hang-up with the wait times. and we've had the resources moved in newark as they have in chicago. and it's dramatically impacted the ability to move passengers in a timely manner. within your testimony you note that bdos could be useful in other positions within the screening model. can you expound for the committee on achieving efficiencies through using the behavioral detection officers? >> thank you, representative payne.
yes, sir, the dehaforal detection officers are trained in perceiving people who are going to do something that is not correct or maybe legal, 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 or the back of the line where they're observing behavior. they can better detect people who may need additional screening or discussion. that is usedel
overseas for has been effective there. >> ok. my time is winding down. i just want to say to mr. cox all throughout this discussion over the past several weeks that i've kept the tsos in mind and have made sure that my colleagues have some idea of what they go through and this strain that they're under based on these long wait times as well. and that we -- they're the last line of defense. and we need to make sure that they have the resources that they need in order to do the job well. we can't afford them not to. they have to be right 100% of the time. so just wanted to put that on the record. i yield back. mr. katko: thank you, mr. payne. the chair will now recognize other members of the subcommittee and then ms. mcsally for five minutes with
questions that they may wish to ask the questions. in accordance with our committee's rules and practices, i plan to recognize members who were present at the start of the hearing by seniority on the committee, as well as ms. mcsally, who is visiting the committee this morning. those coming in a later will be recognized in order of their arrival. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from georgia, mr. carter, for five minutes of questions. mr. carter: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you all for being here. this is obviously a very important subject to us. i'm glad to see y'all because i have some important questions i have to ask you. i have the honor and privilege of representing the first congressional district of georgia. that includes the entire coast of georgia. georgia is unique in that we have a lot of small airports, rural areas. we also, as you know, have hartsfield-jackson airport which is the busiest airport in the country -- in the world. that presents a dilemma. but i want to ask you some questions and i'm very interested to know your response to this. what we've been hearing and what i've been hearing from a lot of the -- from a lot of the airport officials is that there exists somewhat of a disconnect between
the local t.s.a., officials the airline and airport officials, and then upper management. that management in t.s.a. up here in washington, d.c., if you will. have any of you experienced that or can you comment on that? ms. allin or whoever wants to comment. just very quickly because i have a bunch here. ms. allin: yes, mr. carter. i think it's really -- each airport is different. there is a saying in our industry, you've seen one therefore, you've seen one airport. so the relationships that exist are really local and dependent on the people within the organization at those airports. i imagine in atlanta it's much more difficult than it is in syracuse, new york, where we have access to our f.s.d.'s and afsd's and the airlines on a regular day-to-day basis. that's what i can offer. mr. carter: ok. anyone else? ms. beairsto: congressman carter, tucson, -- we have a
excellent relationship with our local screening managers and local personnel. they now have layers to go through and models and requirements are dictated and i can't personally say from where. but certainly their ability to react quickly to issues on the ground. that is what we experienced during our peak period in february and march. they are only opening the precheck lane after they had opened a second standard lane because of staffing. then they could open a precheck lane. when they opened the precheck lane, the lines were cut in half and they were not the full length of our terminal front. having the ability to do that would be helpful. mr. carter: great. have any of you had problems
-- experience with private security? sorry, say again. >> a few of the airports have private security. mr. carter: can you give me your impression, what have been the results? ms. philipovitch: i'll just use san francisco as an example because that's probably the one i'm most familiar with. because the privatized airports, the way the privatized model is today follows the same procedures and staffing allocation models as other airports -- mr. carter: i hope that my colleagues heard that. they have to follow the same rules and regulations, the training is the same, everything is the same. and t.s.a. oversees it, correct? ms. philipovitch: that's my understanding. mr. carter: i'm sorry. continue. ms. philipovitch: so we really see as long as the operation is properly resourced, we're able to have both effective and efficient screening in either model. it's really the key is making
sure that the resource allocation meets the peak needs of the operation. mr. carter: ok. the screening partnership program, mr. cox, i'm 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 that they save money on top of that? have you had any experience with this? mr. cox: sir, we believe that the t.s.o.'s that are employed by the federal government, number one, is a professionalized work force. they do a great job. they have been trained to do that. and i think the record speaks very clearly for themselves, since 9/11, we have not had acts of terrorism in this country. we had a privatized work force on 9/11, and we saw what happened. this country was brought to its knees. the government has been taking care of that, been doing that. part of our real problem right
now is a lack of staffing, not enough staff to do the work properly. mr. carter: but -- and i understand and i appreciate what you're saying, but at the same time i'm convinced that the private industry can do this just as well with oversight with t.s.a. and save money and improve customer service and decrease the long lines that we are experiencing at our airports. and i don't -- and they go through the same training. t.s.a. still has oversight, the responsibility. i think it's unfair to compare what happened on 9/11 between privatization and being run by the public. i mean, that took us all. we were all asleep at the wheel then, you have to admit that. mr. cox: i agree. i was watching fox news last sunday and one of the commentators was at the san francisco airport, was complaining about the long lines, the rudeness of the officers and the various
incidents that was going on and said this is a classic example of why it needs to be privatized. and i busted out laughing because it is a privatized airport. and all the problems that she was referring to was at a privatized airport. she wasn't in atlanta or miami, one of those that was not privatized. she was in san francisco complaining, saying it was a classic example of why it should be privatized. mr. carter: well, you know, what i'd like to see is some comparisons. this is something that is very important, and if we can improve it -- because you mentioned the disconnect. i brought up the disconnect and you commented on the disconnect between washington and the local officials. this is something that we got to work on. this is what happens when the bureaucracy gets out of control, and that's what i think we're headed with and we're at right now with the t.s.a. is the bureaucracy is out of control. we need to get it under control. mr. chairman, i know i've gone past my time but this is just a
very important subject to me, so i appreciate your input on that. mr. cox, what you're telling me i'm having different views expressed to me by other people. so i'm going to continue to search on this and continue to try to see what we can come up with. mr. chairman, i yield back and thank you. mr. katko: thank you, mr. carter. i ask unanimous consent that the gentlelady from texas, ms. jackson lee, be allowed to sit today on this hearing and without objection, so ordered. ms. jackson lee: let me express my appreciation for the chairman and ranking member for your courtesies. this is a committee that i have a great affection for because i indicated before that the t.s.o.'s are the first line of defense, if you will, for the neighborhood, for the nation's aviation security.
so let me thank all of you for your presence here. i have some direct questions and then i want to raise a series of questions for mr. cox. thank you very much for representing very fine professional staff which i want to be more professional. less part time, increased salaries and the numbers would you like to have. so i would ask the representative from the chicago, illinois, the admiral was here just yesterday -- excuse me -- just yesterday and i understand that the wait has gone to 15 minutes. i'd like to see what you're obviously here today, thursday, i'd like to hear your assessment. have the lines improved, the times and wait improved?
ms. callahan: oh, considerably, ma'am. we've seen wait times less than 15 minutes. ms. beairsto: oh, considerably, ma'am. we've seen wait times less than 15 minutes. ms. jackson lee: and we need to see a fix. ms. beairsto: a permanent fix. ms. jackson lee: i understand there's a task force and he's added more employees, is that correct? ms. beairsto: and may i correct, it's a temporary right now. we need permanent fix. ms. jackson lee: oh, so you were saying we need a permanent fix? ms. beairsto: yes. ms. jackson lee: the truth is you added more personnel? ms. beairsto: yeah. the extended overtime added. ms. jackson lee: 700 will be by july so you are aware you will get additional t.s.o.'s and that will help the circumstance. is there a problem with the baggage check? there is a screening and there is a baggage check. is there a problem on the baggage check as well? ms. beairsto: it's not surfaced at our level. we can certainly find out additional information. ms. jackson lee: thank you. but the problem has been at least relieved for a moment and we expect to continue to work with you for that.
ms. beairsto: and midway airport is still waiting for additional resources. ms. jackson lee: additional resources. would you say your t.s.o.'s are profession at management level? ms. beairsto: yes, absolutely. ms. jackson lee: and they were attempting to correct the problem? ms. beairsto: yes. ms. jackson lee: thank you. the airlines -- i see other airports. there is a representative from american airlines. have you been able to work by way of getting your concerns to t.s.a.? should we have a better or different protocol? ms. philipovitch: we've been working with admiral neffenger. we're working in collaboration with the t.s.a. and also promoting many of the actions that t.s.a. is suggesting and already taking and also the actions that are contained in chairman katko's proposed legislation which we're in favor of as well. ms. jackson lee: which means you would be willing to pay for overtime for t.s.o.'s? ms. philipovitch: you know,
right now we really want to get more transparency into 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. ms. jackson lee: and i agree with you. and more flexibility with the f.s.d.'s, would that be helpful? ms. philipovitch: in cooperation with the airline partners, yes. ms. jackson lee: would you join with us? because i heard the point being made there needs to be data regarding baggage fees. i think there should be a study on the baggage fees as to whether or not they increase the number of bags coming through by hand carry. would you work with us on that? ms. philipovitch: may i comment on the checked baggage? general? the airlines have been charging checked baggage fees since 2008, and the line wait we're experiencing with t.s.a. this year are unprecedented. so i think it would be inaccurate to say that bag fees are leading to the current line waits that we are experiencing.
you mentioned -- ms. jackson lee: can i interject for a moment? we note that we had a sizeable increase in passenger travel between 2008 -- already between 2011 and 2016. my only question is, we all have our different perspectives. i'm not offering any perspective. i'm offering, would you participate and collaborate on getting the data we need to understand the question better? ms. philipovitch: we're interested in collaborating to solve the problem. i do want to note that baggage screening, as you noted, is also a core function of t.s.a. and even though we had heard from my colleague from chicago that we haven't had severe issues there. some of our other airports have experienced significant backlogs. in some cases worse like miami and -- ms. jackson lee: we want to fix the problem and i know you have hubs like miami so we want to fix the problem. let me quickly move to mr. cox, if i might.
mr. cox, i traveled to many of your airports. i take the opportunity to speak to t.s.o.'s everywhere i go, including supervisors and managers, and i will say that i ran into one individual, his name was vincent, a world war ii veteran came and was in a wheelchair -- dropped off by his family, was traveling by himself and he said, i don't want anybody else. i want a t.s.o. t.s.o. that means come out to the curb. and so a t.s.o. went out to the curb and took him with the wheelchair all the way through security, etc., etc. getting down to the gate down to the door of the plane and he noted that this proud world war ii veteran who had been dropped off by his family members -- i'm sure they meant well -- he could not walk. and your t.s.o. agent lifted him
up and took him and put him on the plane. i think these are the stories that need to be told. if the chairman will yield me for a moment. mr. katko: we're crunched for time and ms. mcsally needs to speak. votes are coming up. ms. jackson lee: i support a professional staff, not privatization. would you respond to that quickly please? mr. cox: we clearly believe that a professional staff that our government employs that this is an inherently governmental function to keep the american public safe. these people are well-trained. they do a great job. they love their job. they just need to have adequate staffing to be able to do their jobs and to do them properly. and i think if the committee really wants to get legislation that tries to get the input and the collaboration that it would be important that afge and the employees that it represents be included in the legislation as one of the partners trying to resolve the problem.
ms. jackson lee: thank you. thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you so very much. more funding is important. i yield back to mr. chairman and, mr. ranking member, thank you. mr. katko: thank you, ms. jackson lee. the chair recognizes the patient ms. mcsally from arizona. ms. mcsally: in the roundtable last week and today we heard one of the main issues is flexibility with the f.s.d.'s. they can make decisions on the ground. not just the f.s.d.'s, but the supervisors in airports like tucson. admiral neffinger was asked this question yesterday and said he was giving flexibility to them. he believes they already have that flexibility. it is unbelievable to me that it would take an act of congress to actually direct them to provide flexibility. this is just leadership 101. but he sincerely believes he's
given that authority. i specifically asked him yesterday about this and the spoke airports like tucson and he said they have all the authority they need. maybe they're just not getting the message. he just recently removed kelly hogan who potentially is the barrier to this direction being communicated down to all of you. but i want to say we need your immediate feedback. he gave his promise yesterday he was going to follow up on this and make sure they understood his guidance that they have that flexibility. ms. allin, can you share -- you've given some examples. if we had the flexibility with our senior t.s.a. rep on the ground in the last few months, at what instance -- other instances were their hands tied and what -- what have you been able to do that in order to alleviate the problems that we're having? ms. allin: thank you, representative mcsally. when we were experiencing the extreme lines and the challenge that our local representative with t.s.a. had, which is not an f.s.d., as you noted, was the fact there are specific models a
certain through-put passengers per hour have to go through the lane before the second lane can be opened up. and that with one standard lane, then a second standard lane had to be opened before precheck. where precheck is the quick resolution because the lane was cut in half when the precheck lane was opened. ms. mcsally: and that direction came from d.c. or phoenix, do you know? ms. allin: phoenix came down when the passengers were calling the media from the lines and the media began showing up. it all exploded. ms. mcsally: is that still the case? ms. allin: yes. they are limited on staffing and they can't open the precheck because it requires more people. i'm sorry. i can't tell you how many more than a standard lane. ms. mcsally: have you seen any
other situation where you saw their hands were signed where -- were tied where they could move b.d.o.'s to checking i.d.'s or something else? have they given you flexibility locally? ms. allin: yes, ma'am. we've been asking for b.d.o.'s to be document checkers since the problems first started with the holidays prior to our season coming and our f.s.d. in phoenix refused saying it was important for them to be observing the line, the people in line as opposed to being able to be document checkers. i think all that has changed by the admiral and we appreciate that greatly. ms. mcsally: ok, great. ms. beairsto, you say you appreciate the assistance. you know, there was a big media attention to the problems at chicago and then additional agents and k-9 teams came to the rescue. however, they were pulled from somewhere else. what we heard from the
roundtable last week is the feeling is that this sort of squeaky wheel, let's move assets around whoever is on tv today allows, i think one of the airport managers said something along the lines, we all get a turn to be the worst is that kind of model which means that you're going to create a crisis somewhere else. so i am concerned about that, that this is more like a back a -- whack a mole scenario and we're not going to address the bigger airports that end up on tv. can anyone sort of provide some perspectives on this and we should be more reactive to this? ms. beairsto: if i could give you an example? the k-9 example, those kinds of resources really need to be allocated based on airport passenger through-put and the security risk, right? so those are the kinds of things t.s.a. should consider. ms. mcsally: great. mr. cox, i asked the admiral something that was troubling
that i discovered this week which is we have instances of at least 250 through april that have been reported where t.s.a. agents have been pulled away from their primary mission which is the security of air travel and the efficiency and safety of passengers and air travel to support things like presidential campaign rallies and we've heard reports of other events, concerts and sporting events. this is nowhere in their core competency. can you comment on your perspective when someone signs up to be a t.s.a. agent and t.s.o., are they expected to be at a campaign rally or are they expected to be doing their core mission and how you all feel about that? mr. cox: we expected them to do their core mission, to do their core work. as with any situation, y do understand the workers don't get to drive the train.
they just show up and do what the boss man tells them to do. i know our t.s.o.'s, they want to be at the airport doing their mission and taking care of it. it upsets them when those lines are long and passengers are waiting because passengers get more frustrated with them. and i would say if you really want to resolve a lot of these problems, you can talk to f.s.d.'s, you can talk to the administrator, but congress probably needs to mandate groups made up of t.s.o.'s themselves, the people who actually do the work, can tell you how to improve the processes. i know american airlines does that all the time. i know all these airports do that. we need to be talking to the front line employees, and they could give a lot of solutions. they can't necessarily give more resources or more people, but
i'm sure they know how to improve the work processes. ms. mcsally: great. i agree with you. we need to make sure that large-scale events have safety and security, but there are other ways to do that than to be pulling agents that its core responsibility is the safety of air travel in order to do that. so i'll be following up on that and i appreciate the leverage, mr. chairman. mr. katko: thank you, ms. mcsally. i'd like to thank the witnesses for their thoughtful testimony. members of the committee may have additional questions for all of you and we will be asking you to respond. the record will be held open for 10 days. before we close a couple observations. first of all, if we had more time -- we could go on this all day long. the beauty of this meeting is we had the input to have the stakeholders at the table and those sitting in the audience last week which let us become very prepared for this testimony. people look at congress and say congress is broken, nothing gets done. nobody is listening to us.
what transpired last week, we looked at a crisis, we got the stakeholders in here, we crafted a bill in responding to what you have to say and it's going to have immediate impact if we can get it passed. and i'm excited about that. the frustration is that we're moving these things and we're getting this stuff done and so i ask all of you to be advocates for the senate to tell the senate to do their job as well because we don't want to hear any more of these wait time issues. when we can act like this in a collaborative manner, that's when congress can work and come to a positive conclusion. thank you all for coming here. i know it was an early flight for some of you. if there was any consolation, we were working until 12:30 last night and i was up at 5:00 this morning. we all had busy days. so thank you all, very much. mr. payne: an observation before we close. ms. mcsally, you should have not left homeland. i see more now -- ms. mcsally: well -- mr. payne: well, we miss you there.
president to visit the site where the united states dropped the atomic bomb during world war ii. we will show you that event 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. in addition to the graduating classes all over god's line it you come of wish the graduating class, a world of peace, light, and love. but that's not the case. we don't live in a fairytale. but i guess the 1% does. >> this memorial day, watch commencement speeches in their entirety, from business leaders like michael powell at pepperdine university, founder of oracle, larry ellison, at usc. yourself. count on
what makes you special? what distinguishes you from others? in business, we call it your unique value proposition. figuring out yours is key. >> politicians, gendered jeff sessions. senator barbara boxer. governor mike pence at indiana westland. -- indiana westland university. >> to be strong and courageous and learn to stand who you are and what you believe is the way that you have changed here and will carry into the balance of your life. >> white house officials. vice president joe biden, attorney general loretta lynch. president barack obama at rutgers. >> is it any wonder that i'm optimistic? throughout our history, a new generation of americans has been
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at 8:30 a.m., george mason professor frank buckley discusses his book "the way back." donald trump: the folks behind me got us right over the top. north dakota made a big statement tonight. we appreciated. we will not forget it. thank you very much. ♪ host: that was from bismarck north dakota, yesterday. donald trump clinched the gop nomination. he got over 1237 delegates, the magic number. want to get your reaction to that. (202) 748-8000 if you are a supporter of donald trump. (202) 784-8001, if you are