In a Capitol Hill hearing this week, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano complained that extra carry-on bags brought through TSA checkpoints due to high airline checked-baggage fees are costing the agency an additional $260MN each year, forcing security screeners to inspect more bags.
The complaint was prompted by Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), who questioned whether airlines should be "profit sharing" with the TSA to offset this increased workload. Napolitano responded that increasing government security fees would "help."
The TSA has proposed increased government security fees every year for the last decade and has always been shot down. Don’t expect that to change anytime soon, especially with the Republicans controlling the House of Representatives.
Without any other info, the Secretary makes a valid point–there is no doubt that airline baggage polices are pushing more passengers to lug oversized carry-on bags through security and onboard planes. Yet it is misleading to even insinuate that the TSA is not getting enough funding from Congress.
In it’s first full year of service, the TSA operated on a $1.3BN budget. This year, the budget is $8.1BN. 71% of that funding goes directly to airport screening. Funny, whenever I go through U.S. airport checkpoints I see a lot of TSOs just standing around. Are they just in place to look important? Or let their drug-smuggling friends bypass security checkpoints?
If Congress steps in and orders the airlines to pay up, we’ll simply see that reflected in higher ticket prices. Until the TSA can justify why they need more money (when it seems clear to me they need a massive budget cut) I must decry this ruse to evoke public sympathy about the poor, overworked TSOs.
Give me a break.
This from an administration which wants to tax you to breath.