As a result of Congress’ failure to reauthorize the funding for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) budget, the FAA has been shut down since last Friday, leaving approximately 4,000 FAA employees furloughed and 70,000 likely to lose their jobs as a result of all construction jobs at airports coming to a stop. Although airports and air traffic control remain open, the FAA has been forced to halt long-term airport improvement and construction projects. Moreover, without reauthorization, the FAA is unable to collect taxes on airline tickets, a loss of $200 million per week Several small airports have already been closed.
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) International President Veda Shook, stated “The House Republican leadership has been holding the negotiations over this critical funding bill hostage in their single-minded crusade against workers’ right to join a union and bargain for a contract. Republicans are disregarding the democratic principle that majority rules – demanding instead that votes not cast be counted as no votes. Not one member of Congress would be in office today if they were held to the same standard in their elections.”
The Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee John Mica (R-FL) has been holding the reauthorization hostage, according to the Democrats. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Chair of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, stated, “I wish I could understand why the desires of one company… matters more than thousands who have been furloughed….This is not policy. This is pettiness. It’s the typical ‘my way or the highway’ that has become the mantra of House Republicans.” Mica denies such claims.