PhotoConsumers may remember with dread how long airport security lines were this past spring. The problem got so bad that lawmakers greenlighted a TSA effort to hire more than 700 employees to get things moving at a reasonable pace.

While the stagnation eventually subsided, TSA officials are concerned that the long lines may return in October. TSA Chief Peter Neffenger stated that the agency may need to make job cuts if Congress isn’t able to come together on a new budget.

The cuts would result from a larger government shutdown that would occur on October 1, the beginning of the 2017 fiscal year. TSA took big steps in the summer to reverse the bad conditions during the spring. The agency hired 1,400 new security officers and converted 2,000 part-time workers to full-time positions.

However, Congress’ failure to create a cohesive budget would put the agency back in the position it was in during the spring. Neffenger was quoted as saying that TSA’s new staff would “all go home on October 1st,” if Congress fails to act.

Congressional leaders have not been able to work out a new budget deal for the coming fiscal year thus far, but there are some positive signs. President Obama expressed “modest” hopes of a resolved budget before the October 1 deadline, and Neffenger went so far as to say that the TSA was receiving “good signals” and “strong support” from the administration.

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