By Acting Administrator Melvin J. Carraway
If by the end of the week the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not receive funding, the Department shuts down. A shutdown for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) means that most of our employees would still continue to come to work, without receiving a paycheck for that work until the shutdown ends.
As a counterterrorism organization, our dedicated and professional workforce will - in the event of a shutdown - continue to secure our nation’s transportation systems, without pay, just as they did during the government shutdown of 2013. Over ninety percent of our workforce – that’s about 50,000 employees – would continue to report to duty.
Yes, critical operations would continue, but the support for those operations would cease. Approximately 6 percent of the TSA workforce would be furloughed. Hiring would cease. Required training would cease. Travel associated with routine planned security inspections would cease. Deployment of security technology equipment would potentially be delayed.
Although TSA is most recognized and known for our work in nearly 450 airports throughout the United States, our national security mission includes mass transit and passenger rail, as well as pipeline and container traffic. These transportation systems play a vital role in driving the engine of our economy.
TSA officers rely on the development of new technologies, the sharing of reliable intelligence, and screening procedures that can be adapted to address the ever evolving threat. These vital functions depend on a secure budget.
As a civilian government workforce, the men and women of TSA have sworn an oath to protect the traveling public. As fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, partners, sisters and brothers – this responsibility is not without sacrifice.
The vast majority of TSA personnel – including frontline operational and support personnel– rely on biweekly paychecks to support themselves and their families. If DHS does not receive funding, these employees would not receive biweekly paychecks for their work during the shutdown until Congress acts. They deserve better than the proposition of coming to work every day on an IOU.
We hope that Congress will pass a clean budget for DHS. In the meantime, TSA remains dedicated to our mission to protect the nation's transportation systems and ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce.