WASHINGTON — In a news release published by the American Trucking Association (ATA) on Dec. 6, the organization announced its role in leading more than 150 organizations to urge Congress to pass the Transportation Security Screening Modernization Act.
According to the news release, the bill introduced to Congress by multiple representatives would eliminate the needless fees and background checks for essential transportation workers if passed.
The act is supposed to cut through red tape to allow workers to submit their existing valid background checks to TSA-managed credentialing programs.
Eliminating the duplicative screenings would let the bill codify formal recommendations by the Government Accountability Office dating back to 2007. This recommendation was also reasserted in 2020 in the comprehensive security assessment conducted by the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC).
However, the bill does not make any modifications to the backend security assessment conducted on individual applicants, ensuring that they undergo the same level of review as they do under current law, according to the ATA.
“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,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “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. Congress should not allow the inefficiencies of government bureaucracy to impede the efficiency of our supply chain, especially at the expense of those hardworking men and women who keep our economy running.”
ATA Chairman Andrew Boyle, co-president of Boyle Transportation, called the legislation common-sense.
“The bi-partisan bill provides a logical solution to fix some serious flaws in the credentialing process,” he said. “These issues, which are well documented by GAO, incur considerable costs on drivers and fleets. Here is a perfect example of where Congress can make government work better to support the supply chain and essential, frontline workers who move our economy.”
ATA Vice Chairman Wes Davis, president of Big M Transportation, called the process “onerous.”
It “is disruptive to supply chain continuity and deters many qualified drivers from obtaining the credentials required to move these critical loads,” he said. “As we work to recruit more drivers into the industry to meet consumer demand, it’s important that the credentialing system respects drivers’ time and money. This bill will make sure that’s the case.”
Republican Rep. Garret Graves of Kentucky called the regulations “ridiculous.”
He said that the “red tape has 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. 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. I look forward to working with this strong group of bipartisan lawmakers to ensure that this legislation strengthens our economy and supply chain while reducing costs and headaches.”
Born and raised in Little Rock, AR, Erica N. Guy decided to stay in her hometown to begin her professional career in journalism. Since obtaining her bachelor’s degree from UAPB, Erica has professionally written for several publications about several topics ranging from lifestyle, tech, culture, and entertainment, just to name a few. Continuing her love for her hometown, she joined our team in June 2023, where she is currently a staff writer. Her career goals include continuing storytelling through her writing by being the best professional writer she can be. In her spare time, Erica enjoys trying new foods, cozying up with a good book, spending time with family and friends, and establishing herself as a future businesswoman.