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Wait, What? TSA Says Long Lines May Return This Fall

It was only a few weeks ago that the TSA claimed victory over the scourge of long lines at airport security, but now it seems those long lines could return. “Could,” however, is the operative word, and it all comes down to Congress.

According to Skift, the additional TSA staffing added over the summer is at risk if the government can’t agree on a budget by October 1. A government shutdown—which, though it defies any sense of reason or logic, is starting to sound like a possibility—would force the TSA to cut that new staff.

Skift reports that TSA Chief Peter Neffeneger suggested his agency was receiving “good signals” and “strong support” from the Obama administration. Publicly it seems like there’s some cause for optimism, though Congress’ recent penchant for eleventh-hour agreements means no one should feel too confident until the ink is dry.

With any luck, this is all just theater and politics and ultimately, not an issue. And if nothing else, at least we can’t blame the TSA for once, right?

However—and this is a big “however”—undoing those staffing changes would likely have dramatic and rather immediate consequences for travelers. Neffeneger said new staff would “all go home on October 1st” if an agreement can’t be reached. In case you forgot, this spring the TSA was dealing with wait times of up to two hours at some airports. Those wait times were drastically reduced when the agency added staffing this summer.

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