Norton Flags Issue of D.C. Licenses Not Being Recognized for New TSA Administrator at Congressional Hearing

Nov 3, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—At an Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing today with the new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator, Peter Neffenger, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) raised the issue of TSA agents being unable to recognize the new District of Columbia license, which was changed from “Washington, D.C.” to “District of Columbia,” in May 2014.  Before Norton asked her question on TSA security issues at airports, she held up a sample copy of a REAL ID D.C. license and gave a copy to Administrator Neffenger.  Norton told the Administrator Neffenger that she spoke early last year with his predecessor, John Pistole, after her office received repeated complaints from residents that their new D.C. license was not recognized by TSA agents and that some had been asked to present their passports instead, despite the fact most travelers do not carry their passports when flying domestically.  When problems persisted, Norton met with TSA Deputy Administrator Melvin Carraway.  Both Pistole and Carraway took corrective action to ensure all three D.C. licenses currently in circulation are a part of the daily transportation security officers’ shift briefings.  Norton said that she raised the issue again because her office still receives some complaints, although she is grateful that the complaints are far fewer than before.

“I wanted the new TSA administrator to understand how seriously D.C. residents take the failure of TSA agents to recognize their driver’s license and the embarrassment of being pulled out of line and to be asked for a passport instead, as if they were from a foreign country, not the District of Columbia, our nation’s capital,” Norton said.  “This issue has become one more indignity that residents see as closely related to the denial to them of equal rights.  As we have continued to raise this issue, complaints have gone down.  We will continue to raise it until, as a matter of course, TSA agents recognize D.C. licenses.”