Press Release

Senators Introduce Bill Championed by ATA to Modernize Security Screening Process

Mar 14, 2024

Bipartisan legislation would eliminate waste and inefficiencies in credentialing system costing frontline transportation workers

Washington — Today, the American Trucking Associations welcomed the introduction of the Transportation Security Screening Modernization Act by Senators Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), Jon Tester (D-Montana), Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska), and Angus King (I-Maine). 

The bill would eliminate redundant fees and background checks for essential transportation workers.  It was previously introduced in the House by Representatives Garret Graves (R-Louisiana), Adam Smith (D-Washington), Mark Green (R-Tennessee), Michael Guest (R-Mississippi), Salud Carbajal (D-California), and Dina Titus (D-Nevada).  Last year, the ATA led a massive supply chain coalition of more than 150 organizations representing trucking, rail, energy, organized labor, agriculture, third-party logistics providers, and other key supply chain stakeholders in support 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,” 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.  We applaud Senators Wicker, Tester, Fischer, and King for introducing this commonsense, bipartisan bill to support the hardworking men and women who keep our economy running."

The Transportation Security Screening Modernization Act cuts through red tape to allow workers to apply existing valid background checks to multiple TSA-managed credentialing programs, such as the Transportation Worker Identification Credentials and Hazardous Materials Endorsements. By eliminating duplicative screenings and harmonizing these programs, the bill would codify formal recommendations by the Government Accountability Office dating back to 2007.  These recommendations were reaffirmed in 2020 in a comprehensive security assessment conducted by the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center.

This long-overdue reform would reduce costs and hassles for workers like truck drivers, pipeline operators, longshoremen, and warehouse managers, among many others, who must obtain these credentials as a condition of employment. 

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.