Perlmutter Joins Colleagues in Urging State Dept. to Address Unprecedented Passport Backlog

Washington, D.C. — In response to a significant uptick in reports of passport processing backlogs and inquiries to his office, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) joined his colleagues in two bipartisan letters urging immediate action to address the unprecedented passport backlog plaguing Americans around the country because of the COVID-19 pandemic, rendering countless Americans unable to obtain passports with wait times ballooning to upwards of 20 weeks. Each letter describes the challenges and desperate situations facing some constituents such as the possibility of losing hundreds of dollars on unused plane tickets and hotel reservations or missing important family events like weddings and funerals.  

The first letter on July 19, 2021 was sent to Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Consular Affairs Ian G. Brownle. In part, the letter read:

“During the height of the pandemic, people were deeply concerned about losing jobs, housing and loved ones. After 15 months of isolation, people looked forward to travelling internationally to attend postponed weddings and events, reconnect with family members in other countries, and study abroad. Unfortunately, for many, obtaining a passport has been rendered almost impossible due to staffing issues at State Department Passport Agencies and an overwhelming yet foreseeable spike in demand...Given this foreseeable trend, it is unclear why more than a year later there was not more forethought put into the inevitable wave of passport applications as travel restrictions eased and the world opened back up. As a result of this backlog, our district offices have been receiving hundreds of calls and casework requests per week, and they have been told the current processing time is upwards of 20 weeks, nearly five times as long as the usual wait time. Even emergency appointments have been impossible to arrange in some of the most dire circumstances."

Click here to read the full letter.

A second letter was sent on July 22nd to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, which read in part:

"While we understand and appreciate that improvements are being made to address the problems, we write today to urge your department to accelerate the implementation of policies and procedures that increase timely issuance of passports...However, many of our constituents are facing long delays and canceled trips due to an inability at passport centers to receive, process, and deliver passports in a timely manner."

Click here to read the full letter.

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