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Janet Napolitano: Budget feud has resulted in long airport lines

March 04, 2013|By Hugo Martin
  • Air travel is one area the cuts affect: The Federal Aviation Administration told more than 100 airports with fewer than 150,000 landings and takeoffs a year that their air traffic control towers could be shut down.
Air travel is one area the cuts affect: The Federal Aviation Administration… (Bob Chamberlin, Los Angeles…)

The budget battle in Washington that is forcing cuts to federal budgets has already resulted in delays and long lines at some of the nation's largest airports, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Monday.

At a breakfast meeting with the news organization Politico, Napolitano said her agency is cutting overtime pay and sending out furlough notices to customs officers and airport security screeners.

As a result, she said lines have already increased 150% to 200% at airports, including Los Angeles International Airport and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

"We are already seeing the effects at some of the ports of entry, the big airports, for example," she said.

However, a spokesman for LAX said delays over the weekend were "minimal" and passengers waited in lines less than 30 minutes.

Napolitano said the delays will continue and "cascade over the next week."

"Look people, I don't mean to scare, I mean to inform, but if you are traveling, get to the airport earlier than you otherwise would," she said.

The budget battle, resulting in the so-called "sequester," has imposed a 5% cut on the budget of the Department of Homeland Security. The department oversees the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, among other agencies.

"Please don't yell at the customs officers and the TSA  officers," Napolitano added. "They are not responsible for the sequester."

Also:

Which airline has the rudest employees? A survey.

Airports big and small may feel effects of budget feud

TSA ends contract with Rapiscan, maker of full-body scanner


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