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July 16th, 2007
Rep. Grijalva Supports Legislation to Ease Passport Backlog

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today backed legislation in the U.S. 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.

“My office has heard from many of my constituents, who have missed vacations or waited months just to receive a passport,” said Grijalva. “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 hold a passport. The increase has resulted in significant delays with many waiting months to receive a passport.

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.

“Since implementation, constituents have regularly called my office out of frustration,” stated Grijalva. “With 3 to 4 month backlog, my staff has assisted with over 100 passport cases. I feel that this legislation will help improve service and ensure that residents receive their passports in a timely fashion.”

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