In the tumultuous years since 9/11, few federal agencies have been more maligned by the American people than the Transportation Security Administration. Despite sometimes questionable tactics, though, TSA agents do provide a level of safety for travelers.
For that reason, the agency continues to operate during the government shutdown. As with the nation’s border patrol agents, however, TSA staff are now working for free.
According to one source, the Department of Agriculture distributed paychecks Friday for work completed through Sept. 30.
“After that, no pay until the shutdown is over,” the individual explained. Due to a reported gag order regarding the issue, the source spoke to the Western Center for Journalism on the condition of anonymity.
TSA agents are also prohibited from receiving any accrued vacation pay during the shutdown, even if the time off was scheduled prior to the congressional stalemate, the authority confirmed. In addition, workers are not eligible for holiday pay during the shutdown.
“There is no sanity in the administration with the way they are handling this thing,” the source determined, calling the fiasco “unprecedented.”
After studying the paycheck issued Friday, which should include wages earned through Oct. 4, the individual explained it was for an “amount that confirms the payment through Sept. 30.”
While this particular individual is established and has sufficient savings to weather the storm, many others are not in the same situation.
Many TSA employees “do not have back-up resources to make it through because they are young families,” the source explained, noting they are in similar straits as the U.S. Border Patrol.
“It’s a mess,” the authority confirmed. “Obama is making a mess of everything.”
While both agencies will receive back pay after the shutdown is over, the source expressed outrage that furloughed government workers will also be paid for time they were not working.
“That is the unfair part of it,” the individual concluded.
While Obama promised transparency at the beginning of his reign, the only thing clear is his intent to make this and any other such standoff as painful and inconvenient as possible to the American people.
If you thought getting through airport security was a chore in the past, imagine facing agents who are forced to do their job for free.
–B. Christopher Agee
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