Houston airport shuts down TSA security checkpoint amid government shutdown

Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Sunday closed the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint at one of its terminals amid the ongoing government shutdown. 

“The @TSA security checkpoint at Terminal B has been closed, and passengers will be routed to either Terminal C or E,” the airport said in a statement shared on its official Twitter account. 

The statement added suggestions for travelers about allowing for “extra time” for “check and wait times.” 

{mosads}A spokesperson with Houston Airports told KHOU, a local ABC affiliate, that the announcement came in response to staffing issues at the airport. There are not enough agents to operate security checkpoint screenings, KHOU noted. 

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) blamed the government shutdown, which began on Dec. 22, in part for the closure. 

“Shortage of TSA workers, unpaid during the US gov’t shutdown, is causing this change,” he said in a tweet Sunday night, adding that arriving two hours before one’s flight is “especially important” due to this event. 

The news comes as a government shutdown, which is now into its fourth week, impacts thousands of federal employees around the nation, including TSA workers. 

The shutdown was triggered after Republicans and Democrats could not come to an agreement on a new congressional spending bill. President Trump has demanded that funds be included for a wall along the southern border, which Democrats oppose. 

A union president for the TSA said last week that some agents have already walked off their jobs amid the shutdown. 

“Every day I’m getting calls from my members about their extreme financial hardships and need for a paycheck. Some of them have already quit and many are considering quitting the federal workforce because of this shutdown,” Hydrick Thomas, the TSA council president for the American Federation of Government Employees, said Wednesday.

The shutdown led to TSA workers holding a protest outside Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport last Thursday. 

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