Work on this air traffic control tower under construction has been
stopped Tuesday, July 26, 2011, at the Oakland International Airport in
Oakland, Calif. Since a partial shutdown of the FAA took effect Friday,
the agency has furloughed nearly 4,000 workers, stopped the processing
of about $2.5 billion in airport construction grants, and issued stop
work orders to construction and other contractors on more than 150
projects, from airport towers to runway safety lights
The Senate will pass the House’s bill to fund the Federal Aviation Administration through September to end the week-and-a-half-long partial shutdown of the agency, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced Thursday.
Under a deal Reid made with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Senate will pass the House bill that includes cuts to rural flight service to airports in Nevada, West Virginia and Montana. But Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will use his authority to waive the airports from the cuts, ending a 13-day impasse that left 4,000 FAA employees and about 70,000 construction employees out of work.
Reid said the deal did not solve the issues that led to the partial shutdown of the FAA, but he said those can be dealt with another day.
“I am pleased to announce that we have been able to broker a bipartisan compromise between the House and the Senate to put 74,000 transportation and construction workers back to work,” Reid said in a statement released by his office. “This agreement does not resolve the important differences that still remain. But I believe we should keep Americans working while Congress settles its differences, and this agreement will do exactly that.”
But, the White House was obstinate, President Obama was playing around giving birthday fundraising speeches in Chicago and folks realized they were not working because of what the White House wanted. Hence, the Obama Administration got caught with their pro-labor ideology exposed again.
The House and Senate passed a 20th short-term extension of FAA funding in May when the chambers both passed versions of the longer-term bills that were drastically different. The House version included provisions that would undo changes to labor rules that were adopted by the National Mediation Board to make it easier for railroad and airline workers to unionize.
The chambers passed an extension through July 22 when President Obama issued a veto threat of the larger bill.
But as July 22 approached, House leaders added a provision to what would have been a 21st extension that cut subsidies for rural flight service to airports in Nevada, West Virginia and Montana. Noting the airports were in the districts of the Senate Majority Leader Reid, Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Democrats accused Republicans of retaliating politically for the Senate’s objection to the labor provision.
The partial shutdown of the FAA, which last thirteen days, was estimated to have cost the federal government $30 million per day because the agency was not authorized to collect taxes that would normally be paid on airline ticket sales.
Transportation observers estimate the shutdown has also placed about 70,000 construction workers out of work because about 200 airport construction projects have been placed on hold.