Congress has until Friday to approve a new spending package and avoid a government shutdown—less than a week before Thanksgiving.
About 4.7 million people are expected to fly over the five-day period surrounding Thanksgiving, AAA reported Monday. That’s a 2.3% increase over last year and the third-highest Thanksgiving air travel rate this century.
While the nation’s 50,000 TSA workers, already among the lowest paid in government, would continue to work—with their paychecks being deferred—should the government shut down, airports nationwide would expect to experience heightened disruptions and delays.
The TSA is currently screening an average of 2.5 million passengers each day, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
During the last government shutdown, which ran through the 2018 Christmas season, air passengers experienced significant delays when many FAA agents who check bags and protect flights stopped coming to work “due to the financial toll of the shutdown,” according to several top airline union groups.
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) unveiled a stopgap spending bill over the weekend aiming to avert a shutdown.
His two-part continuing resolution would extend funding for some government programs until January 19 while it continues to fund other programs until February 2.
It remains to be seen whether it can garner enough support from hardline Republicans who generally shun temporary spending measures or from House Democrats, since the proposal does not include the $106 billion in new spending that President Biden requested to help fund Israel in its war against Hamas, Ukraine in its war against Russia, and beefed-up security on the U.S.-Mexico border.