Government Shutdown: Airports

Haydn Huard, Staff Writer

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A government shutdown in the United States occurs when Congress fails to pass sufficient appropriation bills or resolutions to fund federal governmental agencies and programs. This can also occur when the President refuses to sign into law such bills or resolutions. President Trump is refusing to sign anything that will end the government shutdown until his needs have been met. His needs are to get funding for his wall that he based most of his campaign around.

The government shutdown is having a major impact on the country’s airports. This is the longest shutdown in U.S. history, being in the fourth week. As this shutdown continues, more agencies are feeling its impact. The airlines that are privately owned can continue to operate, but an estimated 51,000 TSA agents are among the 800,000 government employees who are expected to show up to work without receiving a paycheck (CNN).

Most people cannot even fathom that this type of thing can happen. Lydia von Schwanenfluegel, a senior at GHS doesn’t understand “how is it possible for this to happen” and why does congress not making a decision have such an impact on the people below them.

Earlier this month, CNN reported that hundreds of employees were calling in sick at airports across America in the wake of the shutdown. Tyler Q Houlton, Homeland Security Press Secretary, tweeted that this report was false and that security is more important than a paycheck and that their agents know that.

If Houlton is right, these people will eventually have to quit. The average salary of a TSA agent is around $30,000, this is not adequate for living in a city. Most airports are located near cities, and agents are from those cities. From the Business Insider, the amount of money to live comfortably is $50,000 in a city. So, these people cannot afford to have four weeks of unpaid work.

The president has said that this shutdown will continue “ as long as it takes,” for days, months, maybe even years. Congress and Trump can last for that time, but can TSA agents?