WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — January 25 will add another pressure point to end the perilous and poisonous government shutdown, when thousands of FBI agents are on track to lose health benefits for the rest of the year.
Agents learned Thursday their supplemental health insurance, specifically vision and dental, will lapse if the shutdown extends past two pay periods.
More than 13,000 active-duty agents and support personnel are now faced with the prospect of going without the benefits, waiting until the end of the year to re-enroll, or paying for the year on their own.
“The issue with that is, there are agents who don't have any money,” said FBI Agents Association President Tom O’Connor in an interview Friday.
“It's embarrassing, it's disgusting, and it's shameful.”
The news adds insult to the Bureau, after agents in Atlanta foiled a suspected White House bomb plot Wednesday. Hours later, FBI personnel stood in line for free meals at José Andrés’ restaurant.
While the shutdown slashed spending for evidence analysis at Quantico and halted numerous travel plans for agents pursuing criminal investigations, there are no indications lack of pay has caused sick-outs across the Bureau.
“I’m in close touch with all of our 56 field offices, and the men and women of the FBI continue to serve the people of this country because of their devotion to the mission,” O’Connor said.
“We’re in danger of losing people, a direct national security threat, families could lose their benefits, and it’s past time to end the foolish shutdown.”