TSA leaves phone recording as payday deadline nears amid government shutdown

Hadas Kuznits
January 09, 2019 - 1:09 pm

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Transportation Security Administration spokesperson Michael Bilello was last available on Saturday to discuss the problem of funding during a government shutdown.

"Friday is our next paycheck," he said, "and we have until Thursday to secure funding in order to process that paycheck."

By Wednesday, there was no longer a spokesperson available, but rather a long message on the media information line:

"As the current lapse in funding continues, we want to echo the sentiments of the industry, the traveling public and TSA leadership who are both proud and thankful for the more than 51,000 officers across the country who remain focused on the mission."

The message downplayed TSA airport call-outs.

"Regarding unscheduled absences, Jan. 8 2019, TSA experienced a rate of 5 percent compared to a 3.9 percent unscheduled absence rate one year ago on Jan. 8, 2018," it continued, adding, "99.9 percent of passengers waited less than 30 minutes; 94.8 percent of passengers, less than 15 minutes. In TSA pre-check lanes, TSA passengers waited on average less than five minutes."

Based on our inability to reach a spokesperson so close to the pay date deadline, it's unclear whether those unscheduled absences extended to the TSA media relations department.

"We are united together and value the important work necessary to secure the nation's transportation."