FAA Forced Into Partial Shutdown
Airport construction work halted across country
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2011 4:20 AM CDT
A passenger jet flies past the FAA control tower at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport.    (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

(Newser) – As debt ceiling talks drag on, the Federal Aviation Administration is already feeling the effects of lawmakers' failure to agree. The agency was forced into partial shutdown yesterday after Congress failed to extend its funding, the Los Angeles Times reports. Construction work at airports around the country has ground to a halt and 4,000 of the agency's 32,000 workers have been furloughed. Airlines have lost the authority to collect federal ticket taxes, costing the FAA $30 million per day.

Lawmakers have reached stalemate over House Republicans' addition of two provisions to an FAA funding extension, one making it harder for airline and rail workers to unionize and one eliminating $16.5 million in subsidies for 13 rural airports. "The fact that Congress can't work this out is exactly why the American people are fed up with Washington," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. He stressed that the partial shutdown won't affect passenger safety.