FAA employees will be back to work on Monday, and construction jobs will resume.
WASHINGTON – What was effectively a lockout of FAA employees will end on Monday when the 4,000 people told to stay home will be able to go back to work – and construction jobs will also resume.
Air traffic controllers in towers and air route traffic control centers were the only FAA employees to remain on the job.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said yesterday, “The Senate reached a resolution today because we need to allow FAA safety workers to get back on the job and the American economy needs thousands of construction workers building airports. House Republicans made it clear they would continue to hold the entire aviation system hostage. I deplore those tactics, but ultimately the stakes for real people are too high.”
Rockefeller chairs the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
In Jacksonville, Rep. Corrine Brown of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said “Under a deal Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reached today with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Senate will pass the House bill that includes cuts to rural flight service to airports in Nevada, West Virginia and Montana, yet I am pleased to hear that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will be able to use his authority to waive the airports from these cuts.”
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “This is a tremendous victory for American workers everywhere. From construction workers to our FAA employees, they will have the security of knowing they are going to go back to work and get a paycheck - and that’s what we’ve been fighting for. We have the best aviation system in the world and we intend to keep it that way.”
LaHood, an Illinois Republican, was a seven-term House member.
Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., who was a vocal critic of the Senate for not passing FAA legislation, was silent on yesterday’s outcome until today.
He said, “The American people have witnessed first-hand how truly difficult it is to bring about even modest reforms and cut wasteful programs in Washington, like $3,720 individual airline ticket subsidies. After an absolutely unnecessary two-week delay, and after having imposed hardship on FAA employees, airport construction workers, and the American economy, the partial shutdown of our aviation industry will end.”
Mica added, “It’s vital that the House and Senate leaderships and respective committees, in the next several weeks, work to ensure the end of a 4-½ year delay in passing a long-term FAA bill so there will be no need for a 22nd extension. If the Senate refuses to negotiate on the few remaining issues, they can be assured that every tool at our disposal will be utilized to ensure a long-term bill is signed into law.”
He noted, “The FAA and our aviation system are too important to the American economy to be left behind, particularly when the economy desperately needs our help.
“Once again, it’s unfortunate and unfair that a few in the Senate would unnecessarily leave thousands of workers behind for the last two weeks.”
Rockefeller threw figurative rocks at the GOP.
“It’s clear the right wing of the GOP wants to undo worker protections and may again block progress on the FAA bill in September in order to get its way. Thankfully, for now, this deal allows the FAA to restart, maintains workers’ rights, and ensures that rural airports can get the resources they need, with language that protects deserving small communities whose airports are the lifeblood of their economies.”
Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison from Texas and ranking member of the Transportation Committee, declared, “This is very welcome news and I look forward to the FAA once again resuming regular operations, which will benefit travelers, airports, affected businesses and most importantly, allow furloughed FAA employees to get back to work. The House should now appoint conferees for the FAA authorization so that we can avoid a re-occurrence of this regrettable situation.”
Brown said, “I am pleased the Senate came to an agreement with the House leadership to resolve the crisis regarding the tens of thousands of furloughed FAA workers. It was absolutely necessary to reach a compromise and pass a reauthorization bill, given that nearly 75,000 jobs were on the line. She added, “Certainly, it is unfair to jeopardize these hard-working FAA employees’ ability to pay their mortgage, send their kids to college and make car payments, merely because of an unwillingness to compromise on the part of the Republican House leadership.”
She continued, “Although this agreement does not resolve the important differences that still remain, Americans need to keep working while Congress settles its differences, and this agreement will do exactly that….”