Negative Outcomes Of Government Shutdown: TSA Safety And Sonoma’s Own

Alexis Lage, News Writer

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  The forced shutdown of the federal government continued for over 5 weeks, breaking the previous record of 21 days. It affected over 400,000 federal employees who went without pay for the duration of the shutdown.

  SVHS junior Christina Standley and her family are trying to survive without her father’s income. He has been in the military for the last 20 years and currently works on a Coast Guard base outside of Petaluma.

  He is Essential Personnel for the base, meaning that he was unable to take time off even while not being paid. The family is expecting back pay to come in at some point, but they have no idea when that will be.

  Standley shared, “My parents freaked out at first. We went to Walmart to buy cheap groceries and stopped going out to avoid spending money on gas.”

  She is unsure how long her family can last without pay and right now they are being supported by a loan. Navy Federal Credit Union is offering interest-free loans for employees affected by the shutdown. Standley’s family took out the same amount as her father’s paycheck and plan to pay it back once they start to get his salary again.

  One of the biggest areas affected  by the shutdown is the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, in airport security.

  TSA employees are not receiving pay for any hours worked during the shutdown, so many have stopped coming to work by calling in sick or quitting to find other jobs in order to support themselves. In addition, airports affected by the lack of workers have been forced to shut down certain terminals in larger airports including Miami, Houston, and Washington D.C..

  The shutdown has resulted in record wait times going through security, with some airports suggesting you arrive three hours early to clear security.

  Although the wait is frustrating for many, the overextension of TSA workers has led to more dangerous incidents. A passenger traveling from the US to Tokyo, Japan on Jan. 3 passed through security and took their flight with a gun in their carry on.

  They took off from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which is said to be the busiest in the world, and boarded the flight without being flagged by security. Two TSA Agents were reportedly fired because of the incident, but TSA has denied that the episode had anything to do with the government shutdown.

  Now that the shutdown has ended, nearly 51,000 TSA employees will start receiving pay and business will slowly return to normal.