On Friday, Barrett came to the Capitol with Homeland Security officials to brief congressional staffers on the travel initiative's progress, saying her office was prepared to meet the original January 2008 deadline.
The staffers laughed.
Hennessy-Fiske reported from Washington and Pae from Los Angeles. Times staff writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Claudia Lauer in Washington contributed to this report.
By the numbers
Americans expected to seek passports this year, up from 12 million in 2005.
Average wait, swelling from six weeks.
Number of applications expected annually once the new passport requirements are extended to travel by land and sea.
Source: State Department, passport services