Action Alert: Urge Your House Lawmakers to Support Aviation Security Funding Priorities

We urgently need your help to convince House of Representative lawmakers to fund our aviation security priorities in the upcoming Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill for fiscal year 2025 (FY25).  
As House Appropriations Committee members begin to consider the FY25 funding request for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), House Transportation and Maritime Security Subcommittee Chair Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) and Ranking Member Shri Thanedar (D-MI) are seeking co-signers for a letter they intend to send to the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee on Thursday, April 25, 2024 at 6 pm, in support of TSA funding for law enforcement officer (LEO) reimbursement grants, state and local-led canine teams, TSA staffing at exit lanes, and aviation security technologies. 
As you will recall, the final FY24 DHS appropriations bill eliminated funding for LEO and canine team reimbursements and greatly reduced funding for aviation security technologies. The administration’s FY25 budget proposes to eliminate funding for TSA to monitor airport exit lanes even though they are required to do so by law; to eliminate funding for LEO reimbursement grants; and to eliminate funding for state and local-led canine teams operating at airports. If these proposals are adopted, it would shift $192.3 million in direct costs to airport operators and law enforcement agencies already struggling to meet a growing list of security needs and requirements.  
Request: We are urging airports to contact their House members and ask them to co-sign the Gimenez-Thanedar letter in strong support of critical airport security programs and provide TSA with the funding needed for the agency to continue to staff exit lanes, for LEO and canine reimbursements, and investments in the latest security technologies. It is critical to communicate with all members of the House of Representatives, not just those on key committees. Contact information for your House member is available via this link.  
Airports should ask any interested Members of Congress to contact with Rep. Gimenez or with Rep. Thanedar to sign on to this letter. 

Letter Text:
Dear Chair Amodei and Ranking Member Cuellar:
As you begin working on a Fiscal Year 2025 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, we respectfully request full funding for the Transportation Security Administration’s Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) reimbursement program; the TSA state and local-led canine team reimbursement program; aviation security technologies; and to continue staffing exit lanes from sterile areas of airports consistent with existing law. The President’s budget proposes to eliminate funding for these three programs, which would shift $192.3 million in direct costs to airport operators and law enforcement agencies already struggling to meet a growing list of security needs and requirements.  
Law Enforcement Officer Reimbursement Grants:
A robust law enforcement presence in airports is critical to deter, prevent, and respond to ever-evolving threats in or around the airport, including at the security checkpoint. Unfortunately, the FY24 final DHS appropriation bill eliminated funding for TSA’s LEO reimbursement grant program, which partially reimbursed law enforcement who respond to possible threats, like firearms or fentanyl, during the checkpoint screening process because TSA screeners do not have the authority to detain or make arrests. The more than 290 airports that received these grants are concerned that without this funding airports may be forced to divert resources from other security purposes, like patrolling public areas, or may be slower to respond to an incident at the airport. We urge you to restore $47.2 million for TSA’s LEO reimbursement program in FY25. 
Canine Reimbursement Program:
Unfortunately, the final FY24 DHS appropriations bill eliminated funding for the Canine Reimbursement Program. TSA uses these canines to detect explosives or explosive material at airports and at other transportation locations as part of its multi-layered security operations nationwide. The elimination of funding for these important programs may result in fewer canine teams providing visible and highly effective deterrence measures at our nation’s airports. In 2024, the agency had 1,097 teams, with 675 being operated by local or state LEOs. We urge you to restore the $34.1 million for state and local LEO-led canine teams in the FY25 DHS appropriations bill.
Exit Lane Staffing:
In 2013, Congress, through the Bipartisan Budget Act, recognized exit lanes were part of TSA’s core mission and required to the agency to permanently monitor passenger exit points from the sterile area at airports where the agency performed those duties as of December 1, 2013. Since that time, the DHS Appropriations bills have consistently funded TSA to staff these lanes each year, prohibiting the agency from abrogating its responsibility. Currently, TSA monitors exit lanes at about 100 airports. We urge you to provide $111 million for 1,285 personnel to continue this in FY25.
Aviation Security Technologies:
Recognizing the significant growth in travelers and the evolving threats to aviation, TSA security checkpoints at airports must have the latest technologies in place to screen travelers and their baggage effectively. Recent funding reductions to procure these technologies have delayed full deployment nationwide until 2042. We urge you to provide, at a minimum, the $89.6 million requested in the budget, and if resources permit, restore funding to the FY23 level of $104.5 million.
Adoption of the proposed cuts to these programs would have a significant impact on airport operators and local law enforcement and impair the critical ongoing work they perform in partnership with TSA to enhance security. We urge you to provide full funding and appreciate your consideration of this request.


Thank you in advance for your assistance.