Lowey, Latimer Hold Press Event on Impact of Trump Shutdown on TSA

January 8, 2019
Press Release
The government shutdown—the second-longest in U.S. history—threatens the paychecks of 51,000 agents and jeopardizes airport security.

Lowey, Latimer Hold Press Event on Impact of Trump Shutdown on TSA

WHITE PLAINS, NY – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester), Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, was joined today by Westchester County Executive George Latimer and Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) at Westchester County Airport to discuss the impact of the Trump Government Shutdown on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and its security agents.

“The Trump Shutdown, now in its third week, has forced hundreds of thousands of federal employees, including tens of thousands of TSOs—the very people who ensure our air travel is safe—to work without pay for weeks,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “This is unacceptable and heartless. No American, especially those who live paycheck to paycheck, should be forced to work without pay as bills for groceries, rent or mortgages, and even the cost of gas to get to work pile up.”

Since December 22, the first day of the Trump Shutdown, 420,000 frontline federal employees, including law enforcement, public safety personnel, and TSOs, have worked without pay. Another 400,000 federal employees have been furloughed without pay. The roughly 51,000 TSA employees who screen passengers will not receive their paychecks this Friday, because of the Trump Shutdown. This has led to an uptick in employee absences, as workers call out for reasons such as not being able to pay for child care.

“In addition to impacting TSOs and their families, a continued shutdown poses an even greater national security risk at our airports,” added Lowey. “Long security lines are a nuisance but pale in comparison to the real issue: the lower TSO staffing drops at our airports, the more security suffers.”

“It’s unfortunate that political games are still being played with TSA workers’ livelihoods – same as they were during our last meeting during the holidays,” said County Executive Latimer. “You can’t defer bills – no matter how many stock letters the federal government gives you to send to creditors. These folks are here to make sure our air travel is secure, and even when they don’t get paid – they still come to work on our behalf. Congresswoman Lowey and I want them to know that they are supported, even if other branches of government do not.”

“The men and women of TSA go to work every day to help keep our country safe,” said Gabriel Pedreira, Legislative and Political Organizer at American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) District 2. “The only thing they ask in return is to receive a paycheck for their hard work. It is time for our leaders in Washington to come together and solve this shutdown fiasco. The men and women of TSA are doing their jobs- now it is time for our leaders in Washington to do their jobs and get the government back open again.”

Last week, the U.S. House passed a package of bills Congresswoman Lowey introduced to end the Trump Shutdown and fund most agencies through September 30, and the Department of Homeland Security, including TSA, through February. This legislative package would open the government and provide additional time for negotiations on the one bill with the greatest disagreements. Despite having already passed these bills, Senate Republicans refuse to take up this commonsense legislation and reopen the government.

Lowey has now introduced four individual appropriations bills, expected to be considered in the House this week, that will immediately reopen key parts of the federal government and stop the harm the Trump Shutdown is inflicting on families, businesses, and communities.

“House Democrats have offered repeatedly to end the shutdown, but Republicans keep refusing,” said Lowey. “It is time for the President and Republicans to take yes for an answer, do the people’s business, and reopen the government.”