House Extends FAA Funding

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It seems likely that the FAA will get yet another funding extension by the end of this week, with the U.S. House on Tuesday unanimously OK'ing expenditures through Jan. 31, 2012. That bill now is in the Senate, which must act by Friday to avert another shortfall like the one in July that forced the agency to lay off nearly 4,000 workers. The bill doesn't include any retroactive pay for those furloughed workers, although leaders in both parties had said they would support such a measure, according to The Associated Press.

U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said this is the 22nd time Congress has extended the FAA funding, and he's hopeful that a new bill can be hammered out in the next four months. "I can guarantee it will be the last extension," he said. "We must and we will pass a four-year authorization." The long-term funding has bogged down in a variety of partisan issues including unionization rules and varying ideas about how the money to run the system should be raised and allocated.