Today, Congressmen Cedric Richmond (LA-02) member of the Homeland Security Committee, and Steve Scalise (LA-01) commended the passage by the House of Representatives of the Senate amendments to H.R.2838, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2012 which passed by voice vote today. The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2012 includes a provision authored by U.S. Representatives Cedric Richmond and Steve Scalise to eliminate burdensome Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) rules.
The bill directs the Department of Homeland Security to reform the process for the enrollment, activation, issuance, and renewal of a TWIC to require, in total, not more than one in-person visit to an enrollment center.
"Today I celebrate with millions of dedicated workers all across the country impacted by this reform measure," said Congressman Cedric Richmond. "Just last year, I offered an amendment that called for exactly what passed in the House today so this is a perfect example of bi-partisan success. With the passage of the H.R. 2838, we make a long-term commitment to the millions of longshoremen, truckers, merchant mariners, rail workers and vessel crew members that we will no longer waste their time and resources with the hassle of unnecessary red tape."
From his seat on the Committee on Homeland Security, Richmond has been a vocal advocate for TWIC reform, speaking on this issue during committee hearings. In October 2011, Richmond successfully offered an amendment to H.R. 3116, the Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act of 2012 to remove the second trip requirement for TWIC. In November 2011, Richmond wrote to TSA Administrator Pistole urging him to extend the expiration of current TWICs. In June 2012, the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Coast Guard announced policy changes to temporarily suspend the requirement for a TWIC applicant to appear multiple times at a TWIC enrollment center.
"Nearly two million Americans currently receive TWIC cards, and the inclusion of this provision will permanently eliminate the burdensome requirement for an approved applicant to appear multiple times at a TWIC office, when a single visit could accomplish the same purpose," said Congressman Steve Scalise. "For some individuals, the nearest TWIC enrollment center is hundreds of miles away, and at a time when driver's licenses, insurance cards, and even passports are issued electronically or through the mail, it's time to modernize the TWIC program. I'm proud to spearhead the effort to remove this unnecessary and time consuming roadblock in the TWIC application and renewal process, and will continue working to protect the maritime and transportation industry workers from burdensome regulations and red tape."
This legislation reflects a House-Senate agreement on the Coast Guard Reauthorization bill. The House passed its original version of the bill on November 15, 2011, by voice vote. The Senate passed its version of the bill on September 22, 2012, by unanimous consent.