TSA considering $300 million in budget cuts

A new internal document obtained by CNN shows the Transportation Security Administration's proposal to eliminate screening at more than 150 small to medium sized airports is just one of several cost-saving measures the agency is discussing. CNN's Rene Marsh reports.

Posted: Aug 5, 2018 1:20 PM
Updated: Aug 5, 2018 1:21 PM

A new internal document obtained by CNN shows the Transportation Security Administration's proposal to eliminate screening at more than 150 small to medium sized airports is just one of several cost-saving measures the agency is discussing.

The document, which an agency source says TSA Administrator David Pekoske was briefed on last month, shows how the TSA could save more than $300 million in 2020.

Among the proposed cuts listed in the document are a reduction in full-time air marshals, a reduction in the workforce at TSA headquarters, fewer reimbursements to airports for janitorial services at TSA checkpoints, cuts for benefits for new part-time employees and a 50% cut in reimbursements to state and local law enforcement agencies for use of their K-9 units.

The TSA did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Spending cuts would have to be approved by Congress, which sets the TSA's budget.

By far the biggest and most controversial proposed cut is the $115 million the agency would save by eliminating screening at airports where the flights have 60 passengers or less. Under that proposal, first reported by CNN, passengers with connecting flights would be screened at the larger airports, which have more sophisticated security measures, before boarding the next flight.

It has already been widely panned by lawmakers, unions, airports and national security experts.

It's unclear how seriously TSA is considering any of these cuts, but a working group was established and a risk assessment conducted in connection with the proposal to eliminate screening at certain airports.

The new document says reductions in the federal air marshal program would save the agency nearly $39 million per year, and the reduction at TSA headquarters would slash more than $26 million.

Both cuts would come through attrition, the document says.

The air marshal program and TSA have come under scrutiny for concerns they are ineffective or intruding on civil liberties, most recently for tracking of non-criminal and non-terrorist travelers under a program dubbed Quiet Skies. A series of reports from the Homeland Security Department's Inspector General's Office and the Government Accountability Office have raised questions about the air marshal program's effectiveness.

The cut in K-9 reimbursement would save the agency more than $20 million. The cut in janitorial services reimbursements is more than $21 million. And a change in part-time benefits is $18.5 million.

Another nearly $39 million would come through a reduction in unspecified contracts.

Recently, contractors working for TSA included IT services and companies that repair the screening devices, but the document gives no details about what the potential contract cuts would look like.

New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee's transportation panel, said the proposed cuts "could put at risk the safety of passengers and the security of our transportation systems."

"The intelligence is very clear that the threat to our transportation systems remains real, so I am baffled by this administration's endless efforts to cut funding in this area," Watson Coleman said in a statement.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 296745

Reported Deaths: 6783
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19731230
Hinds18881393
Harrison16780282
Rankin12787265
Jackson12643229
Lee9703161
Madison9484203
Jones8005147
Forrest7250138
Lauderdale6847227
Lowndes6033140
Lamar590980
Lafayette5747113
Washington5229130
Bolivar4620124
Oktibbeha442194
Panola432396
Pearl River4193132
Warren4138115
Pontotoc410771
Marshall404492
Monroe3993128
Union396474
Neshoba3822170
Lincoln3564104
Hancock350277
Leflore3389119
Sunflower319286
Tate303374
Pike301796
Scott295271
Alcorn292463
Yazoo290865
Itawamba290275
Coahoma282069
Tippah279565
Copiah279259
Simpson276680
Prentiss271158
Wayne254541
Leake253172
Marion252778
Covington249780
Grenada248578
Adams235078
George232445
Newton231252
Winston221979
Jasper213845
Tishomingo212965
Attala206870
Chickasaw201453
Holmes182770
Clay179251
Stone173029
Tallahatchie171439
Clarke169672
Calhoun158528
Smith153033
Yalobusha145536
Greene127933
Walthall124540
Noxubee123131
Montgomery122939
Perry122235
Lawrence120621
Carroll119025
Amite112235
Webster111132
Jefferson Davis102731
Tunica99523
Claiborne99129
Benton93924
Humphreys93027
Kemper90423
Quitman77414
Franklin76219
Choctaw69817
Jefferson62827
Wilkinson62427
Sharkey49117
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 498076

Reported Deaths: 10094
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson716711387
Mobile36294737
Madison32616468
Tuscaloosa24340421
Montgomery22739519
Shelby22174218
Baldwin19873289
Lee15039157
Calhoun13832293
Morgan13753254
Etowah13390325
Marshall11448211
Houston10124264
Elmore9483190
Limestone9420138
St. Clair9022227
Cullman8984182
Lauderdale8612214
DeKalb8489175
Talladega7606165
Walker6585259
Jackson6545104
Autauga632492
Blount6236127
Colbert6001121
Coffee5264103
Dale4671107
Russell406933
Franklin399878
Covington3993106
Chilton3898103
Escambia379173
Tallapoosa3622143
Clarke344053
Chambers3431111
Dallas3422142
Pike293373
Marion288695
Lawrence284985
Winston258368
Bibb246160
Geneva240370
Marengo238857
Pickens225457
Barbour213651
Hale212269
Fayette202057
Butler201466
Henry183541
Cherokee178039
Monroe166739
Randolph164840
Washington156836
Macon147745
Crenshaw146255
Clay145954
Cleburne139841
Lamar133733
Lowndes132751
Wilcox122925
Bullock117336
Conecuh107024
Perry106127
Sumter99732
Coosa90224
Greene88532
Choctaw55323
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