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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: 473413

Reported Deaths: 9214
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32339474
Hinds30703575
DeSoto29814346
Jackson23263336
Rankin21111358
Lee14600217
Madison14043265
Jones13165218
Forrest12953233
Lauderdale11418297
Lowndes10249175
Lamar10048128
Pearl River8737209
Lafayette8078136
Hancock7324111
Washington6837147
Oktibbeha6820118
Neshoba6404201
Monroe6372158
Warren6326161
Pontotoc610393
Panola6071124
Bolivar6016143
Marshall5972118
Union564086
Pike5491133
Lincoln5232130
Alcorn520888
George457868
Scott451993
Leflore4401140
Prentiss437276
Itawamba436198
Tippah436180
Simpson4268111
Copiah425586
Wayne424863
Tate4234100
Adams4219114
Yazoo415886
Sunflower4088104
Covington407391
Marion4032100
Leake393185
Coahoma388198
Newton364474
Grenada3517101
Stone345657
Tishomingo324888
Attala321185
Jasper310262
Winston300391
Clay288273
Chickasaw282164
Clarke277487
Calhoun259739
Holmes259485
Smith243947
Yalobusha216747
Tallahatchie215649
Walthall205557
Greene204045
Lawrence203831
Perry196453
Amite193751
Webster191941
Noxubee174538
Montgomery169853
Jefferson Davis165541
Carroll159937
Tunica148434
Benton139433
Kemper137439
Claiborne125634
Choctaw124925
Humphreys123337
Franklin115227
Quitman101825
Wilkinson99835
Jefferson86632
Sharkey62120
Issaquena1916
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 768301

Reported Deaths: 13209
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1093481727
Mobile699891179
Madison48418589
Baldwin35707452
Shelby35193291
Tuscaloosa33029512
Montgomery32582664
Lee21908204
Calhoun20140377
Morgan19351318
Etowah18583433
Marshall17272259
Houston16139353
St. Clair14956276
Limestone14129180
Cullman14069235
Elmore14010245
Lauderdale13128272
Talladega12399215
DeKalb11890229
Walker10231312
Autauga9493127
Blount9418149
Jackson9115136
Coffee8646161
Colbert8324169
Dale8284159
Escambia6456106
Tallapoosa6394168
Covington6313157
Chilton6243133
Russell591654
Franklin563597
Chambers5240132
Marion4628115
Dallas4626178
Clarke451471
Pike450091
Geneva4252106
Winston407987
Lawrence4046102
Bibb396177
Barbour338968
Marengo320981
Monroe311547
Butler309783
Pickens298769
Randolph294055
Henry293856
Hale286081
Cherokee279850
Fayette272271
Washington243545
Crenshaw232265
Clay221561
Macon214454
Cleburne209748
Lamar187839
Conecuh177139
Lowndes169056
Coosa163631
Wilcox154335
Bullock147142
Perry134235
Sumter123335
Greene119241
Choctaw72325
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