Congress Acts On FAA Funding
Lawmakers announced Thursday a plan to end the partial shutdown of the FAA, and the Senate passed a temporary funding measure Friday. The FAA's last temporary funding measure expired July 23, reportedly causing the immediate layoff of about 75,000 people either directly employed by, or contracted to work for, the FAA. The shutdown also prevented the FAA from collecting approximately $30 million per day in airline ticket taxes. After failing to pass a temporary (or more permanent) funding measure for the FAA, the Senate began a five-week-long "district work break." Had the Senate not acted on funding the FAA before returning to work in September, the FAA was on track to lose about $1.3 billion in ticket tax revenue.
The Senate failed to pass a funding measure for the FAA in part because of disagreements between the House and Senate over funding for air service to certain remote airports and laws affecting airline worker unionization. Thursday, reports stated that the temporary deal was said to follow along the lines of the House's version of the bill, which excludes subsidies for 13 rural airports. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood can issue waivers to at least partially fund those subsidies, regardless. As of Thursday, it appeared issues regarding worker unionization are not addressed by the temporary measure but will be left for further debate in the future. One FAA engineer who was interviewed on CNN said that the experience has left him cautious, saying he planned to be more frugal with his money for fear of another layoff.