A bipartisan federal budget deal that calls for an increased airline security fee paid by air travelers on Wednesday passed the U.S. Senate.
Following House passage last week, the legislation awaits President Barack Obama's expected signature.
Co-authored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 will hike the aviation security fee, which in part funds the Transportation Security Administration, to $5.60 per one-way trip from the current $2.50 per segment (now capped at $5 each way). The new fee is scheduled to take effect in July 2014.
The budget summary noted that "another portion of TSA fees is paid by airlines," but that would be discontinued in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2014, according to the House bill.
Under the current fee structure, about 30% of TSA's airline security costs are covered, according to the bill summary. The budget agreement would raise that to 43%, saving the federal government an estimated "$12.6 billion over 10 years," but at the expense of air passengers.
Such groups as Airlines For America and the Global Business Travel Association oppose the fee change, arguing that travelers should not shoulder the added burden.
Airlines for America estimated the increase annually would cost air passengers $730 million. Source: Business Travel News