TRANSPORTATION WORKER IDENTIFICATION PROCESS REFORM ACT
(House of Representatives - June 26, 2012)

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[Pages H4015-H4017]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




        TRANSPORTATION WORKER IDENTIFICATION PROCESS REFORM ACT

  Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend 
the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 3173) to direct the Secretary of 
Homeland Security to reform the process for the enrollment, activation, 
issuance, and renewal of a Transportation Worker Identification 
Credential (TWIC) to require, in total, not more than one in-person 
visit to a designated enrollment center, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 3173

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. FINDINGS.

       Congress finds the following:
       (1) United States workers employed at nearly 2,600 marine 
     facilities and onboard nearly 13,000

[[Page H4016]]

     United States-flag vessels are required to carry a 
     Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) under 
     the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA). 
     Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations require 
     merchant mariners who hold a Coast Guard-issued Merchant 
     Mariner Credential (MMC) and individuals who require 
     unescorted access to secure areas of MTSA-regulated vessels 
     and facilities to carry a TWIC.
       (2) To date, nearly two million transportation workers have 
     applied for and received a TWIC. Applicants must pay $132.50 
     to obtain the TWIC, and make two or more trips to an 
     enrollment center to apply for, and then to pick up and 
     activate, their TWIC.
       (3) A TWIC is valid for a maximum of five years, at which 
     time the cardholder must request issuance of a new card. This 
     process requires workers to make an additional two or more 
     trips to the enrollment center and again pay $132.50 to 
     receive a new card.
       (4) In addition to the cost of the card, workers face the 
     burden of making two or more time-consuming and often 
     expensive round trips to a TWIC enrollment center. In many 
     instances, the nearest enrollment center is hundreds of miles 
     from a worker's home.
       (5) The TWIC enrollment process requiring two or more round 
     trips to an enrollment center is not mandated by statute or 
     by regulation. The process is driven by a DHS policy decision 
     to align the requirements for TWIC issuance with standards 
     for Personal Identity Verification (PIV) for Federal 
     employees and contractors. These standards are contained in 
     Federal Information Processing Standard Publication 201 
     (FIPS-201).
       (6) While DHS has made the policy decision to generally 
     align the TWIC enrollment process with the FIPS-201 standard, 
     the Department may elect to deviate from this standard in 
     instances where it believes an alternative approach is more 
     appropriate for the TWIC program.
       (7) Unlike other Government-issued credentials that adhere 
     to the FIPS-201 standard, the TWIC is effectively a work 
     permit for a highly-mobile private sector workforce.
       (8) Possession of a TWIC does not allow a TWIC holder to 
     gain unescorted access to secure areas of MTSA-regulated 
     vessels and facilities unless the TWIC holder is authorized 
     to do so under a Coast Guard-approved vessel or facility 
     security plan.
       (9) DHS has the statutory authority and regulatory 
     flexibility to develop an alternative process for TWIC 
     enrollment and issuance that does not require applicants to 
     make multiple trips to a TWIC enrollment center.
       (10) Other secure Government-issued identity documents, 
     including United States passports, can be distributed to 
     applicants by mail.
       (11) Congress mandated the issuance of a final rule setting 
     forth requirements for TWIC biometric readers no later than 
     two years after the TWIC pilot began, which would have been 
     August 2010; such a final rule has to date not been issued.

     SEC. 2. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

       It is the sense of Congress that--
       (1) to avoid further imposing unnecessary and costly 
     regulatory burdens on United States workers and businesses, 
     it is urgent that the TWIC application process be reformed by 
     not later than the end of 2012, when hundreds of thousands of 
     current TWIC holders will begin to face the requirement to 
     renew their TWICs;
       (2) the Secretary of Homeland Security should promulgate 
     final regulations that require the deployment of TWIC readers 
     as soon as practicable, in order to ensure the TWIC program 
     realizes its intended security purpose; and
       (3) funds, which have been awarded under the Port Security 
     Grant Program for the purpose of funding TWIC projects, shall 
     not expire before the issuance of the final TWIC reader rule.

     SEC. 3. TWIC APPLICATION REFORM.

       Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of 
     this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall reform the 
     process for the enrollment, activation, issuance, and renewal 
     of a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) 
     to require, in total, not more than one in-person visit to a 
     designated enrollment center except in cases in which there 
     are extenuating circumstances, as determined by the 
     Secretary, requiring more than one such in-person visit.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Daniel E. Lungren) and the gentleman from Mississippi 
(Mr. Thompson) each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California.


                             General Leave

  Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous 
consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise 
and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the bill 
under consideration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from California?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such 
time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, H.R. 3173 requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to 
reform the process for issuing the Transportation Worker Identification 
Credential, known as TWIC, to require not more than one in-person visit 
to an enrollment center except in cases with extenuating circumstances. 
The need for more than one trip to an enrollment center is not mandated 
by statute or regulation, but currently by DHS policy. Given that other 
very important security documents are mailed to people, including the 
U.S. passport, there is no doubt that the Federal Government can 
develop secure procedures for delivering TWIC documents to workers.
  DHS has the statutory authority and regulatory flexibility to develop 
an alternative process for TWIC enrollment to ease the burden on 
transportation workers. The Secretary of Homeland Security should 
reform the TWIC process before the end of 2012 when the first TWICs 
issued in 2007 will need to be renewed and allow applicants to complete 
the process in only one in-person visit.
  I would like to thank Congressman Steve Scalise for the commonsense 
bill and urge my colleagues to support it.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of 
H.R. 3173, and I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, this measure directs the Department of Homeland Security 
to reform the process for the enrollment, activation, issuance, and 
renewal of a Transportation Worker Identification Credential, or TWIC, 
to require not more than one in-person visit to an enrollment center to 
obtain a credential. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this 
bill.
  Since the inception of the TWIC program in 2007, mariners and other 
transportation workers have had to make at least two trips to a TWIC 
enrollment center to enroll and activate their cards. In contrast, 
other federally issued secure identity documents, such as passports and 
merchant mariner credentials, are mailed to the applicants. It is 
unreasonable to continue to require workers to take off from work to 
make a second trip to the nearest TWIC enrollment center, which in some 
cases is hundreds of miles away, to obtain their credential. The bill 
before us today would simply treat TWICs like those other federally 
issued identity documents.
  In response to this legislation and concern expressed by worker 
representatives and Members of Congress, including me, the Obama 
administration recently announced a new option for port and 
transportation security workers who, starting this fall, will need to 
renew their expiring TWIC cards. Under this new option, TWIC holders 
may renew their cards for 3 years at a reduced rate of $60 and go to 
the enrollment center just once.
  I'm pleased that the administration heard us on this issue because 
these changes should help lessen the burden of our Nation's 2.1 million 
port and transportation security workers, as DHS moves toward issuance 
of a final rule for biometric readers for the TWICs.
  Despite these improvements, H.R. 3173 is still very necessary, as the 
recently announced option only applies to renewals, not first-time 
applicants, and there are no guarantees that it will remain in effect 
for the duration of the program.
  Passage of H.R. 3173 will be an important step forward in reforming a 
cumbersome bureaucratic process and providing relief for the more than 
2 million transportation workers.
  I urge my colleagues to give H.R. 3173 their support, and I reserve 
the balance of my time.

                              {time}  1720

  Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California. Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure to 
yield such time as he may consume to the distinguished gentleman from 
Louisiana (Mr. Scalise), the author of the bill.
  Mr. SCALISE. I want to thank the gentleman from California for 
yielding. I also want to thank Chairman King of New York, as well as 
Ranking Member Thompson of Mississippi, for cosponsoring this 
commonsense legislation.
  What we're trying to do is reform a process that was started back in 
2006 that really has created a lot of complications for our 
transportation workers. What we're talking about is 2 million Americans 
not only across the country, but some who work around

[[Page H4017]]

the globe that are required by Federal law to have these Transportation 
Worker Identification Credentials not only to perform their jobs, but 
even to get promoted.
  So as these cards come up, whether you're applying for them for the 
first time or trying to get them renewed, you have to not only make 
one, but two in-person visits. When we talk about these visits, in many 
cases people have to take a day off of work for the first, and then 
another day off of work for the second visit because this is a card 
that they're required to have if they're going to be able to work in 
the transportation industry.
  The rule that was put in place by TSA really is unworkable and 
doesn't really make sense, especially as we're talking about safety. It 
has nothing to do with safety. It's just a rule that they came up with 
that we recognize, number one, it's not in law, but it's something that 
we recognize, especially as we talk to our constituents who work in the 
transportation industry throughout the country, that this is creating 
tremendous burdens on our employees who have to actually miss work and 
miss pay that goes along with it.
  So we're talking about something that affects people's jobs and their 
careers and, in fact, in some cases has limited their ability to get 
promotions.
  I want to read parts of a letter that I received from Andrew Drury, 
who is an assistant cargo mate aboard the USS Mount Whitney. He's in 
the Merchant Marines, and this has been a problem to him. He wrote in 
to our office as he heard we were addressing this issue.
  He's a graduate of the Citadel and is employed by Military Sealift 
Command, a company that is tasked with supplying the U.S. Navy with 
anything from bombs, bullets, fuel and provisions to our Armed Forces. 
He works throughout Europe and Africa. He writes to say: ``Due to my 
long tours of duty overseas,''--his TWIC card has since expired, and--
``I am not allowed to advance in rank or position without the current 
TWIC credential.''
  He goes on to write: this means that anybody who currently works 
overseas has to take time off from work and fly back to the States 
twice. This is very expensive, time consuming, stressful, and ``because 
I live on a ship that constantly moves around is logistically 
impossible. Sir, I am writing you in hope that there is something you 
could do for my fellow Merchant Mariners and me in this precarious 
situation.
  So as we see that 2 million of our workers across the globe are 
facing this problem, this is a commonsense reform that actually puts 
some new reforms in place and puts some new rules in place that says 
you still make that first trip; but just like a passport, you shouldn't 
have to be required to take time off from work to go back a second 
time.
  Again, I appreciate over 40 cosponsors in a bipartisan way that have 
signed onto this. I would urge approval of this legislation.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Speaker, with more than 40 bipartisan cosponsors, passage of this 
measure will make a strong statement of support for reform of the TWIC 
issuance process and American workers. I compliment the gentleman from 
Louisiana for introducing this legislation.
  I encourage passage of H.R. 3173, and I yield back the balance of my 
time.
  Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such 
time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, nearly 2 million transportation workers have applied for 
and received a TWIC. The goal of this bill is to limit the red tape 
involved in the TWIC process so we can focus on the work of this Nation 
while being as secure as possible.
  The Secretary needs to reform the Transportation Workers 
Identification Credential enrollment and renewable process so that our 
workers are not burdened with increased and unnecessary bureaucracy.
  As with the previously considered bill, this is an attempt by those 
of us in the Congress to try and get rid of some unnecessary red tape. 
It in no way undercuts the security of our Nation. As a matter of fact, 
it improves it because it gets rid of a burden on people that is 
totally without merit.
  So I ask my colleagues to support its passage, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support 
of H.R. 3173, ``to reform the process for enrollment, activation, 
issuance, and renewal of a Transportation Worker Identification 
Credential (TWIC) to require not more than one in-person visit to a 
designated enrollment center.'' This legislation removes economic 
tensions placed on workers due to unnecessary commutes to an enrollment 
center. The TWIC serves as a vital security measure that ensures that 
individuals who pose a threat do not gain unescorted access to secure 
areas of the nation's maritime transportation system. Without a doubt, 
it is a necessary precaution for the protection of the America's 
assets. However, the current system for the acquirement of a TWIC is 
inefficient, superfluous, and costly for American transportations 
workers.
  In addition to the $129.75 that transportation employees must pay 
every 5 years to obtain the TWIC, they must also make two or more trips 
to an enrollment center to obtain it. In most cases, the nearest 
enrollment center is hundreds of miles away from the worker's home. 
With national gas prices averaging nearly $4 a gallon, any mode of 
transportation chosen by the worker can quickly become pricey.
  This bill seeks to eliminate the pointless red-tape in the attainment 
of a TWIC, in which millions of Americans are subject to hefty 
transportation costs to travel back and forth to the enrollment centers 
to obtain their TWIC.
  Mr. Speaker, as you are aware, many of our fellow Americans face 
tough economic situations. It truly is imperative to remove this excess 
and unnecessary burden placed on the American workers.
  As a Member of the Committee of Homeland Security, ensuring the 
protection of our interests from domestic threats is one of my top 
priorities. Although TWIC does just that, I feel that we must also 
endeavor to protect the interest of our own citizens. It simply just is 
not an economically viable option to expect our transportation workers 
to pay for two or more round trip journeys for the TWIC. To avoid 
imposing these unnecessary burdens on United States workers, it is 
imperative that Congress enact this legislation.
  This bill passed unanimously out of the Homeland Security Committee 
with broad bipartisan support. I believe this is because H.R. 3173 is 
the text-book example of a win-win situation; there are no foreseen 
negative consequences to the enactment of this bill. It will simply 
allow our American transportation workers to breathe a little easier.
  This reform of the TWIC Application system will make a huge impact on 
transportation workers and their families. Because of it, millions of 
people will not lose money and precious time with loved ones by making 
unnecessary trips to TWIC enrollment centers.
  I strongly urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H.R. 3173, The 
TWIC Application Reform.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Daniel E. Lungren) that the House 
suspend the rules and pass the bill, H.R. 3173, as amended.
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds 
being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I object to the vote on the 
ground that a quorum is not present and make the point of order that a 
quorum is not present.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this question will be postponed.
  The point of no quorum is considered withdrawn.

                          ____________________