H.R. 3750 would waive passport fees for disaster response teams that assist in international relief efforts. The bill also would require the Department of State to report to the Congress on the number of waivers issued under the bill. For the past few years, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has contracted with search and rescue teams in Fairfax County, Virginia, and Los Angeles County, California, to assist with its response to international disasters such as the earthquake in Nepal earlier this year. Those two teams, comprising about 450 individuals, are required to hold current passports and be able to deploy within a few hours. Under the bill, when those individuals renew their passports or new members of the teams require a passport, the passport fees would be waived. (USAID indicated that they do not plan to enter into new contracts with additional teams.)
Passport renewal fees for adult applicants are $30 for the passport card, $110 for the passport book, and $140 for both. Roughly a quarter of those fees are recorded as revenues and the remainder is retained by the Department of State and spent on consular and border security programs without further appropriation action. First-time applicants also pay a $25 execution fee which is either retained by the facility accepting the application (such as a post office, clerk of court, public library or other local government office) or deposited in the Treasury as revenue when the application is made at a Department of State facility. Waiving passport fees would therefore reduce both revenues and collections retained and spent by the department.
Pay-as-you-go procedures apply to this legislation because enacting the bill would affect direct spending and revenues; however, CBO estimates those effects would not be significant because few people would be affected. CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3750 would cost less than $500,000 for the reporting requirement over the 2016-2020 period; such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 3750 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits by more than $5 billion in one or more of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2026.