AUTHORS OF THE LETTER
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI)
Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS)
Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL)
Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO)
Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Common Ground profiles members of opposing parties who are working together to advance issues important to hoteliers.
On Oct. 1, 2020, the Transportation Security Agency will enforce the final phase of the 2005 REAL ID Act, requiring U.S. citizens of age 18 or older to present REAL ID-compliant identification when flying domestically. The security standards set by the REAL ID Act trace back to the recommendations of a bipartisan 9/11 Commission, which proposed the policy to improve homeland security, combat fake identifications, and reduce cases of fraud. However, this means any traveler without a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or other sanctioned identification will be barred from entering security checkpoints at airports across the country. According to the U.S. Travel Association, 57 percent of Americans are unaware that REAL ID requirements begin on October 1, and 72 percent of Americans do not have or are unsure if their license is REAL ID-compliant.
In the House and Senate, legislators on both sides of the aisle share immense concern for travelers given just how many Americans seem uninformed on the upcoming REAL ID deadline. On January 24, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and a group of Democratic and Republican lawmakers co-authored a letter to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) highlighting issues with low public awareness and the potential for crippling disruptions to domestic air travel. The DHS has reaffirmed that it will not extend the deadline despite these concerns. This bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators intends to raise public awareness of the REAL ID deadline and solidify contingency plans to mitigate obstructions for unsuspecting travelers.
“DHS’s efforts will play a crucial role in ensuring that the public is aware of the deadline and takes the necessary steps to acquire compliant identification. Additionally, it is critical that the department do everything possible to ensure that Americans are not needlessly prevented from boarding flights to engage in business and tourism and visit family and friends. DHS should also develop contingency plans to deal with disruption at airports.”
– Excerpt from the letter to the Secretary of DHS, Dated Jan. 24, 2020 ■
ARE YOU #REALIDready?
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will begin enforcing the REAL ID Act on Oct. 1, 2020. To learn more about the policy and how you can help spread awareness, visit www.ustravel.org/toolkit/real-id-toolkit.