Ricketts pushes legislation to fix ‘unacceptable’ passport backlog
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — A Nebraska lawmaker is leading an effort to fix the nation’s passport backlog, which has forced many Americans to cancel trips.
Last week, Channel 8 reported that right now, it could take at least three months to get a new one. Typically, it takes less than two months.
Sen. Pete Ricketts is co-sponsoring the Passport Act.
The plan to crack down on current delays includes the development of a reserve workforce, which can be reassigned to support passport services when demand is high.
The act also calls for an investigation into the quality of customer service, wait times and technology failures.
“What we want to do is give taxpayers an idea of where their passport is along the chain,” Ricketts told Channel 8.
In-person appointments would be expanded at regional passport offices as well, while a chat feature would be added to the National Passport Information Center call line.
“A few years ago, Nebraskans were calling their representatives a couple of times a month with passport delays,” Ricketts said in a press release. “For that number to now be in the hundreds is unacceptable.”
Steve Glenn with Executive Travel said we might start seeing progress later this year.
“After Labor Day, I anticipate that we’ll get a shorter time to get your passport because there’s a lot of political pressure on the State Department,” he said.
Glenn also said the department is working on an online tool for passport renewals.
“Many people will be able to simply go online, use the same picture they had before and get that renewed,” he said.
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