WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono today supported legislation in the House of Representatives to ease the backlog that has made it difficult for Americans to receive passports. The legislation was unanimously approved by the House on a voice vote.
“The delays that many people have experienced waiting for their passports are frustrating and unacceptable. The legislation we passed today will help ease the passport backlog so people can travel overseas to visit relatives, take a vacation, conduct business or study abroad,” said Congresswoman Hirono.
Passport requests skyrocketed following the implementation of a new law requiring Americans traveling by air to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda to hold a passport. The increase has resulted in significant delays with many waiting months to receive a passport. Currently, about 3 million pending passport applications have not been processed.
The Passport Backlog Reduction Act gives the State Department the authority to hire retired former staffers who are trained and authorized to process passport applications. Current law denies retirement benefits to these retirees if they exceed strict wages earned and hours worked caps. The legislation approved by the House waives these requirements and makes it possible for the retired workers to return to work and help ease the passport shortage.
Congresswoman Hirono added, “My office will continue to do everything possible to ensure residents of the 2nd Congressional District receive their passports in a timely fashion.”
Congresswoman Hirono’s office has already assisted a number of residents who have had difficulty obtaining a passport. Residents of the 2nd Congressional District who need assistance with a delayed passport application can contact Congresswoman Hirono’s office at the appropriate toll-free number:
*Big Island 935-3756
”’Michael Levin is a spokesperson for Congresswoman Mazie Hirono.”’