H.R. 3356 would waive the $85 fee for disabled veterans, as defined in the bill, who wish to enroll in the PreCheck program operated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). PreCheck expedites the security screening process for commercial airline travelers. Those veterans also would need to meet the applicable security requirements for participating in PreCheck. About 7 million people (or 3 percent of the adult population) are enrolled in PreCheck. The $85 fee covers all of TSA’s costs to enroll a person in the program.
Using information from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), CBO estimates that around 300,000 veterans would meet the qualifications for the fee waiver. CBO expects that some of the veterans who would qualify for the fee waiver would probably take advantage of the fee waiver to reenroll over the next five years while other veterans would enroll in PreCheck for the first time.
CBO has no specific data on disabled veterans enrolled in PreCheck, but we assume that disabled veterans are enrolled at about the same rate as the population as a whole. On that basis, CBO estimates that around 3 percent of disabled veterans (or about 9,000 veterans) are already enrolled in the program and would reenroll at no cost over the next five years. CBO estimates another 60,000 eligible veterans would enroll for the first time over the next five years. The cost to conduct background checks would not change, but more appropriated funds would be required to compensate TSA for the loss of the fee income under the legislation. Thus, CBO estimates that assuming availability of appropriated funds, implementing the legislation would cost about $5 million over the 2020-2024 period.
On October 23, 2019, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for S. 1881, the VETS Safe Travel Act, as passed by the Senate on September 10, 2019. The pieces of legislation are similar, and CBO’s estimate of their budgetary effects are the same.