Americans looking to travel abroad are running into a massive government roadblock – the increasingly long, increasingly frustrating, delays in getting new passports.

As Fox News reported, the delays for new passports are weeks long…and getting longer. In a letter to the State Department regarding the delays, Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford wrote:

The current processing time for a routine passport or passport renewal application is 18-24 weeks – nearly four times longer than the typical processing time of 4-6 weeks in the fall of 2020. I have heard from an unusually large number of constituents whose vacations, work trips, and honeymoons were cancelled due to these delays and did not receive adequate assistance from the Department of State, which is totally unacceptable. I urge you to make changes to ensure the State Department is not partially responsible for stifling international commerce at a time when our nation is eager and able to resume travel, and to ensure the Bureau of Consular Affairs is fulfilling its responsibilities to the American people.

In addition to these concerning delays, it has come to my attention that the current backlog of pending passport applications is 2.2 million – far higher than the 1.7 million figure last June and more than double the number of pending applications last fall.

There are delays in processing, on top of regional offices that are still not back to normal staffing levels. The State Department’s response?

“U.S. citizens who wish to travel overseas this summer and do not currently have a passport may need to make alternate travel plans,” warned Rachel Arndt, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services. “We are looking at surging back to pre-pandemic staffing levels and additional staff for both government and contractor staff.”

In other words, too bad about your trip. Better luck next time. That’s unacceptable and should lead to oversight hearings about why the delays persist, and what, specifically, the State Department plans to do to clean up its mess. “We are looking at surging” staff levels doesn’t cut it.