FAA Bill, The Money, The Programs, The Jobs...

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In the Senate on Monday, Republican leaders tried to force a vote on the stalled FAA reauthorization bill, but failed to garner enough support, as their motion failed 45-43. Democrats, much to the satisfaction of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), are standing fast for guarantees that would restrict privatization of more control towers. NATCA President John Carr called upon President Bush to work with Congress to break the deadlock. "The administration ... has undermined the will of the Congress and held up the FAA Reauthorization bill -- jeopardizing tens of thousands of jobs and critical air safety functions," Carr said in a statement Monday night. The controllers say privatization would compromise aviation safety, but the Transportation Department says contract towers do not compromise safety and operate more efficiently. This summer, both houses of Congress passed a bill that would have prohibited any further contract towers, but the language was changed in a conference committee. President Bush has said he would veto the final bill if it contains privatization prohibitions.