Airport Alert: Please Urge Your Senators to Sign Letter Circulating in Support of Funding for TSA LEO Reimbursement Grants

Please Urge Your Senators to Sign Letter Circulating in Support of Funding for TSA LEO Reimbursement Grants 
May 15, 2024

We urgently need your help to convince the Senate to fund our aviation security priorities in the upcoming Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill for fiscal year 2025 (FY25). 
As the Senate Appropriations Committee begins to consider the FY25 funding request for DHS and TSA, Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) is seeking Senate co-signers for a letter he intends to send to DHS subcommittee leaders in support of TSA funding for law enforcement officer (LEO) reimbursement grants. Senator Barrasso’s office intends to send the letter on Thursday, May 23, 2024, so time is of the essence. 
As you will recall, the final FY24 DHS appropriations bill eliminated funding for LEO reimbursements, creating an unfunded mandate at the more than 290 airports that received these TSA grants. With only a 30-day notice, those airports had to identify resources from elsewhere in their budgets for the remainder of the fiscal year to fund these activities. Also, the administration’s FY25 budget does not request funding for LEO reimbursement grants. As airport security threats evolve, continued support for the LEO reimbursement grant program will ensure airports are adequately staffed with law enforcement personnel to respond to incidents at airport security checkpoints and elsewhere.
Request: Please contact your Senators as soon as possible and urge them to co-sign the Barrasso letter to provide TSA with the resources needed to restore funding for LEO reimbursements. It is critical to communicate with all members of the Senate, not just those on key committees. Contact information for your Senators is available via this link.  
Senate offices interested in signing should contact or
Letter Text:
Dear Chairman Murphy and Ranking Member Britt,
We write today to urge you to restore funding for the Transportation Security Administration Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) reimbursement program in Fiscal Year 2025 appropriations.
The LEO reimbursable agreement program was established by Congress in 2003 to assist local entities in support of federal airport security requirements mandated in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Since then, it had been funded annually until the Fiscal Year 2024 DHS appropriations bill eliminated funding. Airport operators are required by statute to have a law enforcement officer presence at or near security checkpoints to respond to threats discovered during the TSA screening process because TSA’s frontline personnel do not have the authority to detain individuals or make arrests. The absence of LEO funding paired with this LEO presence statute creates an unfunded mandate.
Eliminating funding for TSA’s LEO reimbursement program in 2024 created an unfunded mandate at more than 290 airports that previously received these grants. This caused a significant financial burden for all the airports which received only 30 days to identify resources from elsewhere in their budget for the remainder of the fiscal year to fund these required activities. This was particularly challenging for smaller or rural airports that operate under very constrained budgets.
Further, since airports have agreements with TSA to keep a minimum number of law enforcement agents on duty, the loss of federal funds for the LEO reimbursement program could also result in violations with steep penalties for airports that can no longer solely support LEOs.
As airport security threats continue to evolve, it is critical for Congress to support the LEO Reimbursement program so airports are adequately staffed with law enforcement personnel.
We respectfully request that you restore funding for these grants in the FY 2025 appropriations bill.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter.