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Congress Approves More TSA Funding

  • VOA News

FILE - TSA agents check passenger boarding passes and identification at a security screening checkpoint.

FILE - TSA agents check passenger boarding passes and identification at a security screening checkpoint.

Congress approved a $28 million reprogramming request from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Monday, allowing for more lines and shorter wait times in airports.

"Today I thank Congress for approving our $28 million reprogramming request for TSA, which will allow us to more effectively and efficiently screen the increased number of travelers at U.S. airports," U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said in a statement Monday.

The money will be used to make 2,784 part-time Transportation Security Officers full-time, which will reportedly add 53 additional security lanes in American airports. It will also allow for TSA to accelerate the hiring of 600 additional officers by the end of the fiscal year.

The decision closely follows another reprogramming request for $34 million approved in May, which has allowed for 160 new security lanes to be opened in the past weeks. The TSA reports that the average wait time for 99% of travelers is now less than 30 minutes.

But Homeland Security is "not taking a victory lap".

Even amid growing complaints of long wait times in American airports which have increased, particularly after thousands of passengers in Chicago missed flights due to long wait times last month, convenience is not the only concern of the TSA.

"As I have said many times, we will keep passengers moving this summer, but we will also keep them safe," Johnson said. "We will not short-cut aviation security."

U.S. lawmakers have recently pushed for tightened airport security, particularly following the EgyptAir crash last month, the cause of which is still unknown.

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