Helen Whalen Cohen

A $42.3 billion defense budget bill passed by the House will cut $270 million from the TSA and eliminate collective bargaining privileges for TSA workers. Union leaders are not happy:

The 219 to 204 vote approved cutting the Transportation Security Administration’s budget by $270 million, according to Democrats and union leaders.

“At a time when intelligence tells us that terrorists remain interested in attacking transportation, this amendment would cut TSA’s screening workforce by more than 10 percent,” about 5,000 people, said Kristin Lee, an agency spokeswoman.

In a letter to House members before the vote on Rep. John L. Mica’s (R-Fla.) amendment, Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said the budget cut would “damage the traveling safety of the public and hurt Transportation Security Officers’ ability to do their jobs.”

Even as TSOs are in the midst of voting for a union to represent them, the House also voted 218 to 205 to prevent TSA from collective bargaining with its workers.

Both measures were contained in a $42.3 billion homeland security budget bill for fiscal year 2012, which the House passed 231 to 188.

Union leaders hope that the Senate, which labor-friendly Democrats control, will reject the two amendments.

The chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee also released a report showing that privatized security procedures are more efficient and would save over $1 billion.


Helen Whalen Cohen

Helen Whalen Cohen is Associate Editor and Community Manager at Townhall.com.