House Vote Expected Wednesday On Today's Deadline

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The House of Representatives is expected to vote on a bill on Wednesday that would order resumption of contract negotiations between the National Air Traffic Controllers Association and the FAA. The bill, proposed last week by Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) and Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) would stop the FAA from imposing a contract on NATCA and require the two sides to sit down again. The vote will come two days after the deadline for congressional action on the dispute (we don't know how that works, either). It seems clear that Congress really doesn't want to get involved in the issues. "We take the clock off it," LaTourette told Congress Daily. "It just leaves them where we found them." On April 5, after eight months of negotiations ended with a mutual barrage of name-calling and general acrimony, the FAA declared an impasse. That sent the whole mess to Congress, which showed little interest in arbitrating a labor dispute. But legislators also appeared uncomfortable with allowing a settlement to be imposed. With the deadline looming, the political machinations began in earnest last week and there'll be a lot of fingers and toes crossed on both sides when legislators sit down Wednesday.