Durbin: TSA Administrator to Come to Chicago to Discuss Airport Security Delays

With TSA funding down nearly $250 million since 2011, Durbin calls for increased funding to address delays and ensure passenger safety

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) will bring the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Peter Neffenger to Chicago on Friday to meet with airport officials and local stakeholders to discuss new measures to address the delays at airport security lines in Chicago and across the country.
“I’m convening this meeting in Chicago for TSA Administrator Neffenger to get a firsthand look at what airline passengers are experiencing, and to ensure that state and local officials, the airlines and TSA leadership are on the same page about fixing this problem right now at O’Hare and Midway airports,” said Durbin.  “We also need to make certain that TSA has the resources and the proper plan in place to ensure security at our nation’s airports in the long-term.”
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.
“Even while threats to transportation have grown, making TSA’s mission increasingly complex, TSA’s annual budget has gone from $7.688 billion in FY2011 to $7.44 billion in FY2016 – a decrease of $248 million or 3.23 percent over this 5 year period,” the senators  wrote. “Tragically, we were reminded all too recently by the attack on the Brussels Metro and airport earlier this year that protecting our airports and surface transportation through substantial security measures is vital to protecting our citizens, and in light of this urge that funding is restored-not reduced.”
Earlier today, 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. Yesterday, 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.
Durbin, Neffenger and other officials will hold a news conference at the conclusion of their meeting on Friday morning at O’Hare International Airport. Further details on timing, location, and participants will be released tomorrow.