23 January 2019
The longest shutdown in US history is starting to weigh on sentiments as a Republican Congressman returning to Washington DC found when he was asked by a fellow passenger whether he was happy with his decision to fly first class during the government shutdown.
Related coverage: Dems Continue Luxury Travel During Shutdown
Representative Rodney Davis from Illinois travelled from Chicago to Washington DC when he was approached by an unknown male passenger who asked whether the taxpayer had paid for the cost of the ticket.
“Congressman, do you think it’s appropriate to fly first class while 57 TSA agents aren’t being paid?”
The Republican representative said nothing as the man continued: “Taking that as a yes.”
“Taxpayers paid for this flight? Fair enough.”
The traveler was pointing out that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a branch of the Department of Homeland Security that manages the security of the traveling public, have not been paid for over a month now.
The TSA employs some 57,000 people, who are currently working without pay, and unscheduled absences of airport security workers hit a record 10 per cent on Sunday.
But a spokeswoman for Mr Davis’s office, Ms Ashley Phelps, told the media afterwards that Mr Davis had bought a coach ticket which the airline upgraded free of charge due to his frequent flyer status.
Also yesterday, Democrat congresswoman Maxine Waters was spotted flying first class. Her office has not yet responded.