TSA union: Ryan budget returns airport security to pre-9/11 levels

The union that represents Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers is arguing that Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) proposed budget for fiscal 2015 would return airport security to pre-9/11 levels.

Ryan proposed a $1.014 trillion budget for 2015 this week that he says would help cut $5.1 trillion from the federal deficit over the next decade.

Ryan’s budget calls for reducing the amount of money that is given to the TSA, among other cuts to transportation-related funding.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) union, which represents TSA workers, said Ryan’s proposal would result in more airport security checkpoints being privatized.

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Republicans have push to privatize airport security as TSA has emerged a frequent target for conservative criticism.

The AFGE said that privatization would make airports less secure, however.
 
“The proposal cuts funding for the Transportation Security Administration and presses the agency to privatize more screening functions, returning airport security to where we were when private screeners failed to stop 9/11 terrorists from boarding the planes,” the union said in a list of its top 10 objections to Ryan’s budget.

The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the TSA, requested that lawmakers approve $3.8 billion for airport security screening in spending request for 2015.

Ryan did not offer a specific amount for his cut because he normally leaves it up to appropriators with jurisdiction over agencies to create specific budgets. However, the GOP’s budget guru said in his 2015 proposal that the TSA has grown to be too bloated since its inception after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“Enhanced operational efficiencies can be obtained without compromising security priorities,” Ryan said in his description of his budget recommendations.

“Recently, wasteful procurement practices led to over $185 million in screening equipment sitting unused in expensive storage facilities,” Ryan continued. “Moreover, TSA has denied applications from airports to opt out of federal screener operations without adequate justification. Applications for private screening that meet security requirements and could improve cost efficiency goals should be approved expeditiously.”

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