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Daily Press Briefing
Tom Casey, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
July 20, 2007

[ ... ]

QUESTION: I donít know if we talked about the House vote on the passports this week, enabling the State Department to rehire former State Department personnel to help out on the passport crunch? Did you have any particular --

MR. CASEY: We haven't -- I know that's happened. I donít have anything particular to say about that, except for the fact that we certainly welcome having the opportunity to bring more people and use the resources available for more people who have the necessary skills, to be able to deal with what's been a very serious concern of ours and obviously something that's affected a lot of U.S. citizens. And what we want to be able to do is make sure that in those instances where there are individuals with the requisite skills available, that we have the option of, in these cases, bringing them back -- retirees who might be available to work full-time on this question. And we're dedicated to making sure that we meet the commitment that Assistant Secretary Harty articulated to the Congress, which is to have our waiting time back down to that 8- to 10-week timeframe by the end of September and again to get back to what has been our traditional service standard of four to six weeks by the end of the year.

QUESTION: Does this increase in personnel -- do you think that'll have any effect on these -- on the amount of time it takes? I know that they're taking PMFs from here and --

MR. CASEY: Yeah, well --

QUESTION: -- I was just wondering if that's going to speed things up at all.

MR. CASEY: Well, again, we're going to do everything we can to make sure that we deal with this issue and we get ourselves back to a normal level of service. If, eventually, all the legislation goes through, certainly having additional resources available is only going to help matters. But we're going to make sure that using the resources we've got and that are available to us that we do everything we can to resolve this problem as quickly as possible.

QUESTION: Okay, thanks.

[ ... ]

[ End ]