The Transportation Security Administration could be going to the dogs if U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer has his way.
Anticipating potential TSA staff shortages among the unvaccinated as the hectic Thanksgiving travel season approaches, New York Democrat Schumer is suggesting that canines could replace them at airport security lines.
“If TSA lags in jabs, send in the dogs,” the Senate Majority Leader said during a press conference on Sunday, the New York Post reported.
In political circles, the seldom-shy Schumer has become known as the lawmaker who “invented” the Sunday press conference.
“There is no reason on God’s green Earth why anyone — let alone a TSA agent — shouldn’t have the vaccine. Now if the agency plans now with contingencies, including the deployment of the canine dog teams, wherever the vaccine rates are impacting staffing and security, travel headaches can be avoided,” he claimed.
Schumer has also suggested that busy New York airports would be good venues to try this out, a pilot program, as it were, because of low vaccination rates among the TSA workforce there.
“The canine teams are really effective. They can help secure national security and allow TSA agents to more effectively and efficiently screen individuals for explosives. It really works and moves the lines along.”
As the senator implied, airport security regularly uses trained sniffer dogs for bombs or drugs. Expecting man’s best friend, for example, to examine photo IDs or administer pat-downs would seem to be a stretch.
An estimated 40 percent of TSA workers, which is about 24,000 employees, are reportedly unvaccinated or their vaccination status is unknown to the agency at this point.
Under President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal workers, they face a November 22 deadline to get the COVID shot. Thanksgiving Day is November 25.
Under normal circumstances, it is very difficult to fire a federal employee because of the extensive job protections that accrue to the civil service. The government considers noncompliance with the COVID vaccine program a form of misconduct.
According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, disciplinary action for the as-yet unvaxed — up to and including termination — could commence on November 9, taking into consideration the three or four week waiting period between each of the Pfizer or Moderna two doses, respectively.
“Because employees aren’t considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after receiving a single-shot series or the second dose of a two-shot series, they must get the vaccine by Nov. 8 to comply with the federal mandate,” the Federal News Network explained.
The TSA indicates that there are currently 337 employees with active COVID-19 infections who are staying home. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, TSA has cumulatively had 10,752 federal employees test positive for COVID-19. 10,415 employees have recovered, and 30 have unfortunately died after contracting the virus,” the agency disclosed.
Social media appears skeptical that K-9s could be the TSA’s best friend. Here is a sampling:
Are the dogs vaccinated? 🤷♂️
— Oscar Romero (@OscarRomero1973) October 17, 2021
Clown chuck schumer wants to bring in dogs to replace unvaccinated TSA workers. I would like to see dogs replace most members of Congress. At least they are loyal.
— Arlene Campbell (@arlenestacie1) October 18, 2021
And maybe we should get some border collies to help with the border
— GG (@GG70163249) October 17, 2021
Democrats using dogs on people again. Back to the 50’s!
— Dohjee (@Dohdoh201) October 17, 2021
Can they scan boarding passes tho lol
— LaTasha Hogue (@tasharica) October 17, 2021
Hey NYers, great job voting this guy in… again. He wants to replace you with dogs.
— JAM335678 (@jam335678) October 17, 2021
Someone has to handle the dog
— Veronica-CorningVogt (@andreaUSA7373) October 17, 2021
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