U.S. air safety agents absences hit record level; shutdown in Day 31
By David Shepardson and Katanga Johnson
WASHINGTON, Jan 21 (Reuters) - The U.S. Transportation
Security Administration, where employees are going unpaid amid a
partial government shutdown, said on Monday that unscheduled
absences among U.S. airport security officers rose to a record
10 percent on Sunday as the shutdown reached its 31st day.
The agency said the rate was up from the previous high of 7
percent on Saturday. It also was more than three times the 3.1
percent absence rate on the same day last year, when the
government also was partially closed due to legislative funding
As the partial government shutdown continues, air safety has
become a top concern as the number of TSA agents not showing up
for work grows.
The agency said many employees, who are not being paid
because of the shutdown, are not reporting to work because of
More than 50,000 TSA officers are among some 800,000 federal
workers have been ordered to stay home or work without pay
during the shutdown.
Nearly all 1.78 million passengers screened Sunday faced
normal security waits of 30 minutes or less, despite the
absences, TSA said.
Some airports experienced longer wait times at security
checkpoints, and on Sunday, Baltimore/Washington International
Thurgood Marshall Airport closed one of its checkpoints because
of excessive absences.
About one-quarter of the U.S. government has been shuttered
since Dec. 22 over Trump's demand for $5.7 billion to fund a
wall along the border with Mexico, which Democrats have refused
The promise of a border wall was a mainstay of Trump's 2016
presidential election campaign. As a candidate, he said Mexico
would pay for the barrier, but the Mexican government has
(Reporting by David Shepardson and Katanga Johnson
Editing by Nick Zieminski, Chris Sanders and Bill Trott)
First Published: 2019-01-21 00:33:20
Updated 2019-01-21 17:57:24
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