Calling for swift passage of the Transportation Security Screening Modernization Act, H.R. 5840 are more than 150 organizations, including the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), Association of American Railroads, American Chemistry Council, American Trucking Associations and Railway Supply Institute, who say the bill will streamline the background check process for government and supply chain workers.
In a Dec. 6 letter (download below) to the House Committee on Homeland Security’s Chair, U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.), and senior Democrat, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the groups expressed their support of the bipartisan bill, which was introduced in the House in September and subsequently referred to the House Committee on Homeland Security and then to the Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security.
“Railroad workers are among those who often have to obtain multiple security credentials for different government agencies, such as the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, before being allowed to work at ports or maritime facilities or transport hazardous materials,” ASLRRA wrote in a report of the joint letter in its Views and News member newsletter. “Securing these credentials involves completing multiple background checks and paying the accompanying fees. The proposed bill would allow eligible workers to apply existing valid background checks to multiple credentialing programs, codifying formal recommendations from the Government Accountability Office, which date back to 2007.”
According to the letter, the Department of Homeland Security houses most credentialing programs “critical to supply chain continuity,” but those programs “have distinct regulatory requirements that make them inefficient and costly. The Transportation Security Screening Modernization Act would create efficiencies for both the government and supply chain workers by harmonizing programs that require the same background check, including the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME), and TSA PreCheck programs. Additionally, the legislation would allow individuals to apply for enrollment in multiple security threat assessment programs at the same time under a reduced fee structure.”
While the groups said that they “understand and appreciate the need for security credentials to protect the nation from evolving threats … Congress must take steps to address the harmful impacts that poorly managed programs have on the workers who keep our supply chain running.” They urged “swift consideration and passage of this important legislation.”