Authorization bill could include change in TWIC escorts

| 10/21/2009

A budget bill likely to be approved in the coming days could provide truck drivers a way to enter U.S. ports as they await approval through the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program.

Congress is expected to approve authorization for the U.S. Coast Guard budget either this week or next week, and an amendment by Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, D-CA, could require that drivers at ports be provided escorts by the U.S. Coast Guard rather than be turned away while their applications are being processed.

In July, Sanchez pointed to a report that showed TSA’s delayed implementation of TWIC was causing  many longshoremen, truck drivers and other port workers to lose jobs.

“This report echoes the concerns I have raised multiple times during my subcommittee’s oversight hearings,” Sanchez said. “In response to these concerns I added language to the TSA Reauthorization Act of 2009 that establishes a timeline for and streamlining of the TWIC application process. My changes also require the development of procedures that will allow TWIC card applicants to receive an authorized escort so they can report to work.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has been critical of several TSA processes during the TWIC rollout, including the price of enrollment and the ability of foreign nationals to access ports without background checks required by TWIC applicants from the U.S. One filing of the Association’s comments on TWIC can be found here.

Sanchez is serving her seventh term in the House. Her Congressional District includes Anaheim, Garden Grove, Santa Ana and Fullerton in Orange County, CA.

Sanchez serves as Vice Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism. She is a member of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity and Science and Technology.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer