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WASHINGTON – Congress approved TSA's request Wednesday to hire more screeners and pay overtime to deal with a surge in summer travelers who are already jamming airport checkpoints.

Travelers wait in line March 17, 2016, for security screening at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle.

The Transportation Security Administration asked Congress on May 4 to shift $34 million between its accounts to hire and train 768 new officers and pay overtime for its 42,500 officers. Key senators agreed the same day, and their House counterparts approved the shift Wednesday.

The approval came after Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said Wednesday that delays at checkpoint lines could be reduced if Congress authorized more funding.

“I do know that the TSA takes very seriously the responsibility they have to protect our aviation system, but also to minimize the inconvenience to U.S. travelers,” Earnest said. “A problem that people have noticed can be traced back pretty easily to the inability of Republicans in Congress to govern the country.”

Democratic members of the Homeland Security Committee – Reps. Kathleen Rice of New York, Donald Payne of New Jersey and William Keating of Massachusetts – urged the money shift Tuesday, after the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey reported wait times have increased significantly at La Guardia, John F. Kennedy and Newark airports. Delays have also been reported at Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Denver and Seattle airports.

Airlines for America, an industry group representing most of the largest carriers, created a website,, and hashtag #ihatethewait to encourage travelers to post pictures of long checkpoint lines.

But Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, who is chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee for Homeland Security, initially raised concerns because Congress provided TSA with more funding this fiscal year than the Obama administration requested.