Another Extension…More Time for TSA on Belated Security Rule
On May 14, the House Committee on Homeland Security unanimously passed the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Authorization Act (H.R. 2200). The bill, which now awaits action on the House floor, contains language regarding the TSA’s inaction on the issuance of a final rule on repair station security.
The TSA was originally tasked with creating a repair station security rule in Sec. 611 of VISION 100. TSA was instructed to issue a final rule to “strengthen oversight” for all Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificated part 145 repair stations, located both domestically and abroad. The agency was afforded 240 days to issue the final rule, which elapsed without such action.
The “9/11 Commission Recommendation Act of 2007” addressed the inaction in Sec. 1616, by mandating that the TSA issue the final rule within one year of enactment of the legislation (Aug. 3., 2007). However, unlike VISION 100, the legislation contained a “punishment” if the agency failed to meet the prescribed deadline. The bill gave the TSA until Aug. 3, 2008 to issue the final rule or no new foreign repair stations would be afforded FAA-certification. Since this date is long past, and the TSA has failed to even produce a notice of proposed rulemaking, the “freeze” on initial certification of foreign repair stations has been in effect for months.
In Section 205 of the current TSA reauthorization bill, Congress once again grants a time extension to the agency to deliver a final rule, this time for an additional six months. The freeze on initial certifications will remain in effect.
ARSA remains active in pushing the agency to issue a final rule in order to lift the certification freeze. The Association continues to press the important role that foreign repair stations play in the global aviation industry and that inhibiting industry growth (by not allowing new certifications) is an ill-conceived measure that punishes private industry for government inaction.
With the current absence of a TSA administrator, agency action is not expected in the near future, despite the continued requests from Congress that have now spanned over six years.