Transportation Security Agency officers are quitting their jobs as the partial government shutdown continues into the third week. President Donald Trump ordered a partial gov't shutdown on Dec. 22 after Democratic lawmakers refused to approve $5.7 billion in border wall funding.
Hydrick Thomas, who heads a TSA union for federal employees, says TSA agents are no longer calling in sick - they are quitting as their bills pile up with no end to the shutdown in sight.
"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," Thomas said in a statement posted to the union's website on Tuesday.
He said the shutdown could mean longer lines for travelers going through airport security checkpoints.
The TSA employs approximately 50,000 agents at airports around the country. The agents are essential government workers who must remain on the job during a shutdown.
According to USA Today, Thomas warned the situation could pose a threat to the nation's travelers "since we don't have enough trainees in the pipeline or the ability to process new hires."
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President Trump was unmoved by the calls to end the shutdown. In a meeting with Senate leaders, Trump said he expected the partial gov't shutdown to continue for weeks, months or years - until he gets the $5.7 billion to fund the border wall.
While speaking to reporters during an hour-long press conference after the meeting, Trump said government workers would be able to handle any financial issues that might arise from being out of work.
He reminded reporters that every President -- including Barack Obama -- has shut down the federal government during their terms in office.
"It's very important that we have great border security. It will be over with sooner than people think," Trump said.
During a nationally televised address from the Oval Office on Jan. 8, Trump urged the American people to support his battle with the Democrats for border wall funding. "This is a choice between right and wrong, justice and injustice," he said, describing border security as "a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul."
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