Hearing Report: DHS Secretary Testifies on FY25 Budget Priorities; TSA Briefly Discussed

On April 10, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified before the House and Senate DHS Appropriations Subcommittees about his fiscal year 2025 (FY25) budget request. While both hearings largely focused on border, immigration, and Coast Guard funding needs, two Senators briefly questioned him about Transportation Security Administration (TSA) programs.
Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Reimbursement Grant Program:
Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) voiced concern about the recent decision not to fund TSA’s law enforcement officer reimbursement grant program in the final FY24 appropriations bill. She noted that this decision negatively impacts the seven airports in her state of West Virginia, which lost funding to support law enforcement “manpower” when TSA needs assistance at security checkpoints. These airports now have “holes” in their annual budgets. Capito pressed Mayorkas on what he would say to airports that lost this funding because it “certainly doesn’t make airports more safe.” Mayorkas said that if DHS had the resources, they would devote funds to this. He also promised to look into this issue further.
This exchange focused solely on the lack of funding for LEO grants in FY24. As a reminder, the TSA budget for FY25 does not request funding for LEO reimbursement grants either. AAAE is strongly advocating that funding be restored in the FY25 appropriations bill and is asking airports to do the same with their members of Congress. Please see our Airport Action Alert for more information and answer a related survey to help with our efforts on Capitol Hill.
TSA Pay Parity:
Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) voiced pleasure that the recently enacted FY24 DHS appropriations bill fully funded pay parity for all TSA employees and that the budget request for FY25 continues that support. He questioned Secretary Mayorkas about the impact pay parity has had on TSA employee retention and morale as the agency continues to screen a record number of travelers. Mayorkas responded that it has had a “monumental impact on retention and recruiting as well as on morale.”
For additional information, links to the two hearings can be found:
House DHS Appropriations FY25 budget hearing with Secretary Mayorkas
Senate DHS Appropriations FY25 budget hearing with Secretary Mayorkas