Both sides remain at an impasse in the ongoing government shutdown. And according to one reporter, top Republicans say there’s only one solution to reopen the government: A strike by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers.
Washington Post reporter Robert Costa recently tweeted that two “senior Republican lawmakers” confided to him that the one thing that would ensure the shutdown would end quickly is if TSA workers decided to go on strike and effectively grounded flights.
“That’s the only way out, they say. And they’re close to the [White House],” Costa tweeted.
Couple senior Republican lawmakers tell me the only way this breaks open is if TSA employees stay home and Americans get furious about their flights. That’s the only out, they say. And they’re close to the WH.
— Robert Costa (@costareports) January 15, 2019
The Washington, DC area has three airports — Dulles International, Reagan National, and Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) — and at least one of those airports is already seeing action from federal workers and contractors angry about the shutdown. The Baltimore Sun reported that workers at BWI airport are planning a rally Wednesday afternoon calling for the shutdown to end, in solidarity with TSA workers.
In addition to TSA workers, federal air traffic controllers are also being forced to work without pay during the government shutdown, due to their jobs being classified as “essential.” An estimated 420,000 of the 800,000 furloughed federal workers are working in “essential” jobs, so they have no choice but to come to work. And thanks to the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, there can be serious repercussions for workers who decide to strike.
However, a strike may not be far away, given the dire circumstances faced by TSA workers and other government employees affected by the shutdown. KQED reporter John Sepulvado tweeted this weekend that TSA workers at LAX airport in Los Angeles were calling in sick to drive Uber and Lyft so they could have immediate income. Others were jokingly asking passengers for donations, and weren’t conducting the routine security checks that usually come with a trip to the airport.
Also / and I dunno if it’s coincidence/ the full body scanner isn’t operating at any of the lines in my terminal / 🤷🏽♂️✈️🥀
— 🐝john sepulvado🐝 (@JohnLGC) January 16, 2019
The current shutdown is already the longest in history, and President Trump has said he won’t budge “one inch” in shutdown negotiations without a border wall. While there are enough Senate Republicans to join Democrats in passing a bill to reopen the government without wall funding, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has continued to refuse to bring the funding bill up for a vote in his chamber.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.