Durbin: More Needs to be Done to Fix Massive Delays at Airports in Chicago, Across America

Durbin will bring TSA Administrator to Chicago Friday to see delays for himself, discuss solutions with airport officials and stakeholders

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) spoke on the Senate floor today about the urgent need to address the massive delays at airports in Chicago and around the country. Durbin will bring Transportation Security Administrator (TSA) Peter Neffenger to Chicago Friday to discuss ways to bring wait times down while protecting passenger safety.
“We’ve all seen the footage of people waiting in line to go through security screening at major airports, particularly in the city of Chicago, both O’Hare and Midway,” said Durbin. “The lines are so long people have had to wait for two or three hours. People are angry. I don’t blame them. More needs to be done to fix the problem, and that’s what I’ve been working to do.”
Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor are available here.
Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.
Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available for TV Stations using FTP in high definition here and in standard definition here.
Yesterday, Durbin called on the major American airlines to immediately suspend checked baggage fees for the summer travel season to help reduce alarmingly high wait times at security checkpoints across major U.S. airports. On Tuesday, Durbin announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will commit 58 additional security officers and additional canine units to Chicago airports to address massive delays at airport security lines.
“Yesterday, I followed up with a call to the TSA Administrator to hear his thoughts. We all agreed that the real problem is the shortage of TSA screeners. Yes it’s an irritation and a frustration, but we need to do it in this dangerous world to make sure that we stop people from using their carry-on baggage and other sources to cause harm to innocent people. So I stand behind the TSA and its mission, but what happened in Chicago is unacceptable. This meltdown should have been avoided. There should have been better management, more screeners, and we should have been ready for this surge in passengers. We’re going to make that right beginning this week, and I hope that the visit of the TSA Administrator tomorrow will be the beginning of a conversation that will not only help our airports in Chicago but help the nation.”
TSA funding has decreased by nearly $250 million since 2011 even though the number of passengers screened has increased. In 2015, TSA screened more than 708 million passengers – an increase of 40.7 million compared to 2014.  In a letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, Durbin and 22 other Senators called for additional funding to help ensure adequate staffing levels, reinforce screening efforts, and help expand security training programs.