Salazar Co-Introduces Passport Modernization Act

Salazar Co-Introduces Passport Modernization Act

“Hundreds of my constituents contact my office every day with the same issue – it takes way too long to get a new passport.”

Daniel Molina
Daniel Molina
|
August 22, 2023

Florida Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R) has co-introduced the Passport Modernization Act. The bipartisan bill is a response to what lawmakers argue is unprecedented passport delays at the Department of State.

Earlier this year, Salazar joined almost 200 members of Congress in directing a letter to the State Department. In the letter, the lawmakers demand answers regarding sustained delays in passport processing times, which they argue exacerbates stress in their constituents’ travel plans.

The letter, addressed to the Honorable Rita Bitter, Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, states that “processing delays and subsequent influx of requests to Congressional offices cause added stress for our constituents around long-planned travel and sometimes require them to pay additional money for expedited processing and/or overnight shipping fees they otherwise would not have pursued. Meanwhile, Congressional offices are having to dedicate additional time and resources that could be devoted to other constituent service demands.”

In a statement, Salazar championed the effort, saying that “hundreds of my constituents contact my office every day with the same issue – it takes way too long to get a new passport.” “This bill will bring these wait times down immediately by hiring new staff, modernizing our system, and getting the State Department back on track,” she added.

According to a press release from Salazar’s office, the bill will specifically address the following:

  • Provide Special Hiring Authority to the Secretary of State to hire exclusively Passport and Visa Examining Series (GSA Code 0967) for three years;
  • Require the Secretary to provide quarterly reports on processing times, delays and methods that are being used to eradicate the backlog;
  • Require the Department of State to modernize the online passport filing system; and
  • Require the GAO to conduct a report on National Passport Information Center operations.

Co-sponsors of the bill include Florida Reps. Cory Mills (R) and Daniel Webster (R).

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Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina is an award-winning senior reporter based in Miami. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Florida International University. His hobbies include reading, writing, and watching films.

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