WASHINGTON – Today Congressman Lance Gooden (R-Texas) introduced the Taxpayers Require Immediate Passports (TRIP) Act to send a message to the State Department that it’s time to fully reopen passport offices and address out-of-control processing times. He is joined by original co-sponsors Reps. Brian Babin (R-Texas), Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), Ken Calvert (R-Texas) and Randy Weber (R-Texas).
“Americans are having to cancel travel plans and miss family gatherings as if we’re still in the middle of the pandemic,” said Congressman Gooden. “Essential workers across America have returned to work. So should State Department employees. Taxpayers deserve better from their government.”
Passport turnaround times have gone from an average of 6-8 weeks to 18 weeks for regular service. For expedited service, turnaround time has ballooned from 2-3 weeks to 16 weeks. Appointments are extremely difficult to obtain and hold times for a simple telephone call to check the status of a passport often exceed 3 hours.
The TRIP Act would incentivize the State Department and Secretary of State to improve passport services by prohibiting taxpayer funded international travel for the Secretary of State until:

  1. all passport agencies are fully reopened,
  2. routine passports take less than 8 weeks and expedited services take less than 6 weeks, and
  3. the secretary submits a report to Congress outlining improvements to passport services and State Department work from home policies.