Joyce Remarks at FY24 Budget Hearing for the Transportation Security Administration (As Prepared)

Mar 28, 2023

 This afternoon, we welcome the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, David Pekoske to testify on TSA’s fiscal year 2024 budget request.

Administrator Pekoske, thank you for joining us today.  I’d also like to take a moment to congratulate you on being confirmed for a second term as TSA Administrator.  In today’s political environment, it’s quite an achievement to work for multiple Administrations. Thank you for your leadership and your service.

TSA’s mission is vast and embedded in the principle that transportation security is national security.

Established in the immediate aftermath of September 11th, 2001, TSA works to combat dynamic threats across this nation’s transportation systems and protect the traveling public.

In order to carry out that mission in a robust and effective manner, the resources this Committee provides to TSA must prioritize innovative and transformative solutions to the security challenges we face today. Unfortunately, Administrator, I’m not sure the President’s 2024 budget request meets that mark.

The budget request for TSA is nearly $1.6 billion dollars above the fiscal year 2023 enacted level.

The single largest line-item increase in the budget request is $1.1 billion dollars for pay increases for the TSA workforce.

I appreciate the dedication and service to our nation that Transportation Security Officers show each and every day and believe they should be paid fairly, but also recognize the significant budgetary challenges that this poses, especially in the current fiscal environment.

The budget request also woefully underfunds investments in new, more capable technology at airport checkpoints.

For example, Computed Tomography technology is able to render 3-D images of carry-on baggage, providing TSOs with a greater ability to identify potential threats at the checkpoint while increasing the speed and efficiency of passenger screening.

However, the budget request includes only $70 million for this technology—which is $35 million less than the amount that was provided in fiscal year 2023. At the current rate in the budget, TSA will not be able to fully deploy these systems across the United States until 2042.

Compounding these budgetary challenges is that the Administration has yet again resorted to budget gimmicks, assuming unauthorized fees as an offset for TSA’s appropriation.

Coupled with the 1.1 billion dollars in pay increases, the Administration has created a huge hole in TSA’s budget—to the tune of 2.8 billion dollars.

The Committee will need to take a hard look at the entirety of TSA’s—and the Department’s—budget and balance these proposals against other funding requirements.

Administrator Pekoske, I look forward to your testimony today, and working with you throughout the fiscal year 2024 appropriations process.

Before I turn to our witness for his statement, I would like to recognize our Ranking Member, Mr. Cuellar, for his opening remarks.