Congress reaches deal to end FAA shutdown
Tina Grady Barbaccia | August 4, 2011
After a partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that left 4,000 transportation and construction workers temporarily furloghed, Congress has reached a bipartisan compromise that after the Senate approved the margin.
The Budget Control Act of 2011 has been sent to President Obama for his signature.
The bill raises the debt ceiling, protects the full faith and credit of the United States, and reduces the budget deficit, according to Sen. Harry Reid (R-Nev.)
The deal would allow the Senate to approve a House bill extending the FAA’s operating authority through mid-September, including a provision that cuts $16.5 million in air service subsidies to rural communities, according to an Associated Press report.
“This lengthy debate left Americans across the country wondering whether Congress would get the job done, or send our economy off a cliff,” Reid says in a press statement issued immediately following the Senate’s approval of the FAA measure. “But in the end, both sides came together. Neither side got everything it wanted, but our nation got a bipartisan compromise that averts an economic catastrophe, and puts us on a path toward fiscal stability. This agreement cuts the deficit by nearly a trillion dollars now and lays the groundwork for Congress to deliver a balanced deficit reduction package this fall.”
“As we craft the next step, Democrats will work to ensure that millionaires, billionaires, and corporate jet owners share in the pain of cutting back. Because that is a pain that millions of middle class families in Nevada and across the country feel every day. We need to do more for them. That is why Washington must now turn its focus back to Main Street, and start creating jobs.
“Today we made sure America will pay its bills. Now it’s time to make sure that all Americans can pay theirs.”
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the FAA deal “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,” LaHood says in a written press statement. “We have the best aviation system in the world and we intend to keep it that way.”
Just before the deal was reached, U.S. Congressman Jason Altmire (Pa.-04), a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, noted his “disappointment” in stalled negotiations for an extension of the FAA.
“I am extremely disappointed that this petty partisanship is costing us to lose more than 70,000 jobs when unemployment rates are already skyrocketing and important FAA operations are in jeopardy,” Congressman Altmire said during the stalled negotiatoins. “Congress must do everything in its power to resolve this issue as soon as possible. I am ready to do whatever it takes to get this extension completed because so much is at stake, and I urge my colleagues to get on board to finalize an agreement.”
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