Senators Introduce TSA Clearance Bill

Measure Would Streamline Security Certification Process
Coast Guard TWIC inspection
A truck driver shows his credentials to U.S. Coast guard inspectors. (U.S. Coast Guard)

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Legislation meant to expedite commercial drivers’ applications for security credentials was recently introduced by a bipartisan group of senators.

The Transportation Security Screening Modernization Act, introduced by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) in March, seeks to standardize the security application process for individuals in the freight sector to facilitate their access to multiple credentials.

“Truckers and other transportation professionals often need a variety of security certifications to do their job. However, maintaining so many different credentials takes time, money and can be complicated. To ease that burden, our bill will streamline the TSA’s certification process without sacrificing security,” Wicker said March 18. He is the ranking member on the Armed Services Committee

“Montana’s truckers and transportation workers fuel our economy — and forcing those folks to face expensive and redundant security certifications is a waste of time and money,” added Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), a senior member of the Appropriations Committee. “Streamlining that process is a no-brainer, plain and simple. Together, we’ll keep working until we get this bipartisan bill across the finish line.”

Also introducing the bill were Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Angus King (I-Maine). The bill’s committee consideration has yet to be scheduled by Democrats governing in the majority.

Lawmakers explained the legislation’s policy updates would maintain high security standards. Six months after enactment, TSA would be required to update Congress on the law’s progress.

House policymakers, meanwhile, introduced their version of the bill late last year.

Rep. Garret Graves


“Ridiculous regulations and red tape have crushed America’s supply chain workers. We need to expedite the time it takes to put an essential worker into our workforce, not requiring people to stand in line for security credentials only to have them get back in line to obtain a redundant background check for another TSA credential,” Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Garret Graves (R-La.) argued Dec. 6.

“The supply chain crisis has contributed to higher consumer costs and shortages, and this effort is part of the solution to make sure our transportation workforce is able to work at full speed,” Graves emphasized further.

Dina Titus


“By streamlining the credentialing process across TSA-managed programs, we ensure that our supply chains are secure and ease the burden on applicants, including truck drivers, warehouse managers and pipeline operators. Supporting these essential transportation workers will not only strengthen our economy, but also lower costs for consumers,” added Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.), a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Currently, transportation industry workers seeking certain credentials to access federal facilities often are required to pursue separate applications through the Transportation Security Administration’s security clearance process. Certain transportation workers are required to maintain multiple TSA credentials, such as the Transportation Worker Identification Credential and Hazardous Materials Endorsements.

Chris Spear


Freight stakeholders, such as American Trucking Associations, announced their endorsement of the bill. “Subjecting essential supply chain workers to the same exact background check multiple times in order to receive different credentials from the same agency does nothing to enhance security. This system only serves to pad government coffers by forcing truckers and other transportation workers to pay duplicative fees for a background check they’ve already cleared,” ATA President Chris Spear said in a statement accompanying the Senate bill’s announcement.

“Congress should not allow the inefficiencies of government bureaucracy to impede the efficiency of our supply chain,” Spear continued. “We applaud Sens. Wicker, Tester, Fischer and King for introducing this common-sense, bipartisan bill to support the hardworking men and women who keep our economy running.”

Other groups backing the congressional measure include the National Propane Gas Association, Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, Border Trade Alliance, National Tank Truck Carriers, Association of American Railroads, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, and the National Energy & Fuels Institute.