Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (MA-09) this week backed legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to eliminate the backlog that has made it difficult for Americans to receive passports.
The legislation was unanimously approved by the House and has been sent to the Senate for final approval.
“My office has heard from countless residents of the Ninth Congressional District who have waited up to four months just to receive a passport,” said Congressman Lynch. “This common sense legislation will make it easier for the State Department to process applications and send travelers on their way.”
Passport requests skyrocketed following the implementation of a new law requiring Americans traveling by air to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda to have a passport. The increase has resulted in significant delays with many waiting months to receive their passports and a backlog of about 3 million passport applications.
Lynch said, “It was unwise to try to implement these new regulations without hiring enough staff to handle the onslaught of passport applications. This legislation will go a long way toward fixing the backlog and enabling the State Department to process the applications in a much more reasonable amount of time.”
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 caps on wages earned and hours worked. 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.
Congressman Lynch office has already assisted a number of residents who have had difficulty obtaining a passport. Any resident of Massachusetts’ Ninth Congressional District needing assistance with a delayed passport application should contact Sarah Bonaiuto in Congressman Lynch’s Boston Office at (617) 428-2000.