As the summer travel season gets ready to kick off, lawmakers are looking at ways to cut down on airport security wait times without putting security at risk.
The TSA is prepping for its busiest travel season yet.
“243 million travelers and crew between Memorial Day and Labor Day,” Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) said.
Lawmakers, like Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, want to make sure the agency is ready for the rush to prevent a repeat of the historically long security lines in 2016.
“Staffing levels were insufficient to process the number of travelers,” Rep. Coleman said.
The TSA is testing new screening technology, working to get more people enrolled in TSA Pre-Check and hiring more staff.
“We have between 1,400 and 1,600 additional officers than we did last summer, in addition to 50 more screening K9s,” Darby LaJoye, with the TSA, said.
Lawmakers from both parties slammed the agency for how it’s using those K9s. They say TSA is letting people who have been screened by K9s, go through expedited security like TSA Pre-Check, even if they aren’t enrolled in the program, to make the lines move faster.
“Pre-Check should not be used to manage traffic,” Rep. Katko said.
Rep. Katko says only Pre-Check passengers who pay for the service and pass a background check should go through the streamlined screening process.
The TSA argues the dogs are actually enhanced security.
“We believe the dogs are very effective as a deterrent and sniffing for explosives. We view dogs as an additional layer of security, not a replacement for anything,” LaJoye said.
Rep. Katko doesn’t buy it. He says lawmakers will soon pass a bill banning TSA from letting passengers go through expedited security if they aren’t enrolled in Pre-Check.