The delays in processing passport requests are so bad this year that the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on the matter today, July 11, 2007.
The committee is trying to determine why the government underestimated the increased demand for passports and who is responsible for the backlog.
"No one is more aware than I am that in the past several months, many travelers who applied for a passport did not receive their passport in time for their planned travel. I deeply regret that. And I too regard the situation as untenable. Mr. Chairman, as leader of the Bureau of Counselor Affairs I accept responsibility for this situation, and for correcting it," stated Maura Harty, Asst. Secretary of State.
The Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 prompted new security laws that require all Americans traveling in or out of the country to have passports.