More Layoffs For FAA Employees?

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If Congress fails to act (again) by Sept. 16, the FAA will see another expiration of short-term funding and potentially another round of layoffs. In July, Congress failed to reach an agreement on funding for the FAA before heading for a five-week recess. That caused a temporary limited shutdown of the FAA that led to the two-week layoff of an estimated 4,000 FAA employees and more contract workers, before Congress passed another temporary bill. The shutdown also lost the agency approximately $30 million per day in airline ticket taxes. About two weeks into the shutdown, Congress did act while in recess, providing a funding measure that expires Sept. 16. Certain key figures in Congress say that this time, they're willing to compromise. President Obama has also weighed in.

"I'll compromise in a reasonable fashion," Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman, John Mica, R-Fla., told The Daytona Beach News-Journal Tuesday. President Obama addressed the issue Wednesday, saying "when they [Congress] come back next month, not only do they need to pass the transportation bill, but they've also got to pass a clean extension of that FAA bill -- for longer this time -- and address back pay for the workers who were laid off during the last shutdown."  The House and Senate have been unable to act on long-term funding, largely due to their respective differences on how easy it should be for airline employees to unionize.