The Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill signed on December 29 by the President includes funding to bring Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employee compensation to a level commensurate with other federal agencies. It also supports funding to expand collective bargaining rights for the screening workforce.
The omnibus government funding legislation for Fiscal Year 2023 includes $397.6 million to implement TSA personnel system initiatives and improvements, including pay increases and expanded collective bargaining.
Earlier in December, there was disappointment as the National Defense Authorization Act passed without the TSA workforce bill, which sought to treat TSA’s workforce like most other federal employees.
In a statement issued on December 30, TSA said that after years of advocating for fair pay for its employees, the provision in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill allows the agency to bring pay rates in alignment with other federal agencies, effective July 1, 2023. TSA’s frontline employees, Transportation Security Officers (TSO), have generally been paid up to 30% less than their federal counterparts.
“Although we were unable to move TSA’s workforce to the proven title 5 system – as the House and the Administration supported – this funding still represents by far the biggest advancement for the workforce in TSA’s history,” said Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security. “With this new funding, TSA should be able to start providing pay raises as early as July of next year.”
TSOs now regularly screen more than two million passengers per day, and the agency said that it expects travel volumes to continue to increase throughout 2023. “The FY23 Omnibus Appropriations Bill further enables the critical national security work that TSA employees do each day to protect the nation’s transportation systems,” TSA said.
The bill also included funding for expanded collective bargaining rights for TSA’s non-supervisory TSOs as well as new computed tomography and credential authentication technology acquisitions that will significantly enhance our checkpoint screening capabilities.
Altogether, the bill provides $9.3 billion for TSA, $836.1 million above the fiscal year 2022 enacted level and $722.1 million below the President’s budget request, including:
- $397.6 million to implement TSA personnel system initiatives in fiscal year 2023
- $61 million for new Transportation Security Officer hiring
- $94 million above the request to continue exit lane staffing that is required by law
- $13.4 million above the request for the Personnel Futures Program
- $5 million above the request for increased acquisition support staffing
- $4 million above the request for pipeline cybersecurity
- $141.6 million to fully fund computed tomography ($105.4 million), credential authentication technology ($22.3 million), and reimbursements to airports for legacy purchases of in-line explosive detection systems ($13.9 million), as requested.