Tech labor leader warns NASA employees could move to private sector if shutdown continues


Labor leader Paul Shearon on Tuesday warned that a number of “highly sought after” NASA employees could move to the private sector the longer the government shutdown continues.

“These people are highly sought after in the private sector, and to have them out of work, not of their own choosing, and certainly not getting any pay, that can only go on for so long,” Shearon, the president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, told Hill.TV’s Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball on “Rising.” 

The partial government shutdown, which is centered around President Trump and congressional Democrats disagreeing on border security funding, has resulted in most NASA employees being furloughed, according to the agency.

Due to the shutdown, 95 percent of NASA employees are currently unable to go to work. 

“For our people, for our engineers, our scientists, some of the best scientists and engineers in the country, their interest is performing their work,” Shearon said. “This whole political facade that is being put up is simply encumbering their ability to get their job.”

The shutdown, now in its third week, has impacted a number of federal agencies and programs, including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which has reportedly experienced widespread callouts by agents.

The White House and Democrats have been unable to strike a deal to reopen parts of the government. Trump has requested $5 billion in funding to construct a border wall and Democrats have offered $1.3 billion in border security measures.

Trump is set to address the shutdown, as well as the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, in a live address to the nation on Tuesday night. 

— Julia Manchester

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