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Blackburn Criticizes TSA for Sequester-Eve Uniform Surprise

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Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Marsha Blackburn (TN-7) today criticized Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano for spending $50 million on new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) uniforms just days before sequestration went into effect.

According to reports from CNS News, the Transportation Security Administration signed a deal in late February to purchase new uniforms for its agents at a cost of $50 million to the American taxpayers. This deal comes on the heels of TSA entering into the largest collective bargaining agreement since WWII.

Under the union negotiated labor agreement, TSA Transportation Security Officers now receive a higher uniform allowance than a combat Marine Lieutenant who receives a one-time uniform allowance of $400. TSA's new uniform allowance will cost American taxpayers $9.63 million annually.

"I find it deeply disturbing that as Secretary Napolitano is running around scaring people by saying she is going to have to furlough employees because of sequester, that she would also spend $50 million of taxpayer money on new uniforms. This is a classic failure in leadership," Blackburn said. "DHS has the flexibility it needs in the sequester to cut waste, fraud, and abuse from its budget. Instead, Secretary Napolitano is making the active decision to furlough personnel and is trying to manufacture a scenario where passengers have to wait in longer lines."


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