If things don’t change soon, the crisis will become even more disastrous. Airport security, for instance, will likely be significantly hindered. TSA employees up until now have received paychecks, but if a budget deal isn’t reached by this Friday they will miss their first check. TSA spokesperson Michael Bilello told Bloomberg, “If we go past Friday without a paycheck, that will be the first missed paycheck. Now we’re talking about a completely different environment.”
Already, things have been hectic for the agency. Hundreds of TSA employees have reportedly already called in sick. This was all in anticipation of being forced to work without the promise of timely compensation. But once that first paycheck is missed, this problem is only going to get worse. And with fewer TSA workers at airports, it’s likely that security will have to become more lax. Currently, to make up for the staff shortages, the agency is implementing an emergency program that moves officers to different airports in need, reports Bloomberg. If things get dire, it’s unclear how the agency will keep up.
Federal employees are hoping that a budget can be passed sooner rather than later. But as the bitter political fight continues, it’s unclear if President Trump will allow for any compromise. Tonight he’ll give an address to the nation, which could provide some clarity but is more likely to make things even more divisive.
For now, we’re left with the bitter irony that a government shutdown caused by a supposedly attempt to enforce better border security measures is almost certainly making our country unsafer.