NFFE Submits Testimony to House Oversight Committee to Defend U.S. Passport Employees, Reduce Delays
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Matt Dorsey
Phone: (202) 550-6987
June 22, 2023
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) submitted testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Accountability for a hearing addressing post-pandemic backlogs and delays in service of U.S. passports. As a result of increased demand for passports after COVID-19 travel restrictions were lifted, passport wait times remain longer than normal and backlogs have been difficult to reduce.
“Despite some members of Congress incorrectly blaming service issues on remote work, the reality is that passport processing employees cannot work from home and went to work in person throughout the pandemic,” said NFFE National President Randy Erwin. “If lawmakers want their constituents to receive their passports in a timely manner, Congress must properly fund the service so that the State Department can hire, train, and retain enough passport processing employees. Equally important is the need for an overhaul of antiquated technology, which is the root cause of backlogs and wait times.”
The submitted testimony urges the House Oversight Committee and Congress to upgrade the department’s technology, hire an additional 200 employees, expand and expedite new and current employee trainings, and allow for flexible work schedules to reduce burnout.
“If you have a U.S. Passport, that passport passed through the hands of a dedicated federal employee and NFFE member,” continued Erwin. “Passports are incredibly important for American citizens who travel internationally for business, leisure, or both. However, as a matter of national security, there are no shortcuts when it comes to processing passports. That is why it is so critical for Congress to invest in passport agencies by modernizing technology and staffing the department with an appropriate number of qualified employees.”