WASHINGTON—Today, Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Ranking Member Michael Cloud (R-Texas) and several Republican lawmakers wrote Secretary of State Antony Blinken regarding the massive delays Americans are experiencing in renewing or applying for a new passport. Currently a backlog of more than two million passport applications exists, which results in an estimated wait time of up to 12 weeks. Prior to the pandemic, processing typically ranged from four to six weeks.
“American citizens are running into backlogs across America’s federal agencies because federal employees are not returning to the office, regardless of the fact that it is safe to do so given the rapid distribution and availability of vaccines,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Cloud. “The State Department’s two million passport backlog is wreaking havoc on the plans of Americans who are finally able to travel after over a year of restriction. Besides hurting Americans, these delays are hindering America’s travel industry, which is in dire need of business to recover from last year’s economic shutdown. The State Department must answer for this backlog and let Congress and the American people know how they plan to quickly address it and prevent it from reoccurring.”
The Republicans are requesting a briefing and detailed information regarding the passport application process, including the average number of passport requests received daily, the total number of applications and renewals currently pending and contributing to the backlog, the number of passport workers employed, return-to-work plans, and whether the department plans on hiring staff to address the backlog.
The full letter is available here.