In what appears to be a classic example of Washington's "spend it before it's gone" mentality, TSA signed a deal for the manufacture of new uniforms for TSOs ... some of them to be made in Mexico ... just days before the sequester kicked in. The new uniforms reportedly will cost U.S. taxpayers about $50 million.
CNS News reports that the uniforms amount to a clothing allowance for TSA employees that adds up to about $1,000 per year.
The contract was awarded on February 22 to VH Imagewear. The one-year contract "will address the requirements of the TSA, Office of Security Operations, TSA Uniform Program,” the award states. TSA confirmed that the garments would be manufactured "in the U.S. and Mexico." TSA said that its contract with VF Imagewear complies with the provisions of NAFTA, allowing for their manufacture in a foreign country.
But the new uniforms may last longer, as they'll likely be worn less under the sequester. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the automatic spending cuts will be forcing furloughs of screeners and other TSA employees, making for longer lines and wait times at airports around the country. Napolitiano told Politico last week that people should "get to the airport earlier than you otherwise would. There's only so much we can do with the personnel.
She also asked that frustrated travelers not "yell" at the TSA employees. "They aren't responsible for sequester," she said.
Not to mention that it could result in a "discussion" with federal authorities or airport police.