Security checkpoint at Bush Airport closed due to TSA staffing shortage

TSA officers at Logan Airport

President Donald Trump is edging closer to declaring a national emergency to fund his long-promised border wall, as pressure mounts to find an escape hatch from the three-week impasse that has closed parts of the government, leaving hundreds of thousands of workers without pay.

TSA employees are now working without pay due to the government shutdown which on Saturday became the longest government shutdown in USA history.

Transportation Security Administration employees tell KITV 4, so far there hasn't been much of an increase in checkpoint lines at Hawaii's main airport.

There were no visible protests from employees, and passengers said there was no impact on wait times.

The TSA workers are among the some 420,000 federal employees deemed essential who are working without pay.

Facing a shortage of TSA staff, the Miami International Airport announced on Friday it would be closing one of its checkpoints over the weekend, effectively stopping all departures from Terminal G.

Screeners start around $24,000 a year, and most earn between $26,000 and $35,000, according to TSA.

The shutdown began on December 22 and many Americans are now dealing with the reality of not receiving government benefits such as SNAP or their federal income tax returns until after February if this shutdown should continue.

"There has been no degradation in security effectiveness and average wait times are well within TSA standards", Transportation Security Administration spokesman Michael Bilello said.

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The National Air Traffic Controllers Association is now suing the Trump administration on behalf of the thousands of controllers that have not been paid during the record-breaking shutdown. Now, some are quitting altogether, their union says.

"It's a very dedicated, professional work force and I would not be overly concerned with the service they will provide", Robinson said.

On average, TSA employees make between $25,518 to $38,277 a year and many live paycheck to paycheck.

Longer lines would alienate travelers and could push more airports to replace government employees with privately contracted screening agents.

Security delays could mean missed flights for passengers.

Some airports are trying to help the unpaid federal employees.

The Airport Authority plans to continue providing the lunches on Fridays to federal workers until the government is reopen.

Airports across the country are feeling the pinch from the government shutdown, but that hasn't been the case in Southwest Virginia. "We're still advising people an hour or 90 minutes is probably best here, but in those larger airports at least give yourself a couple hours from when you check in to being able to get through the checkpoint".

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