Congress Goes Home Without Ending FAA Shutdown

GOP, Dems disagree about subsidizing service to rural airports
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2011 12:58 AM CDT
Updated Aug 3, 2011 6:30 AM CDT
Work on airport construction projects, including this control tower at Oakland International Airport, has been halted.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Congress has gone home for the summer without reaching a deal to end a partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration. Some 4,000 FAA employees and around 70,000 construction workers have been put out of work by the shutdown, caused by a partisan standoff, the Washington Post reports. Airport safety inspectors have been asked to work without pay; air traffic controllers and plane inspectors are unaffected, as they're paid from different accounts. The Senate has refused to accept a provision in a House bill that reverses a National Mediation Board decision making it easier for airline employees to unionize.

"We have heard many, many grandiose speeches by members of Congress about creating jobs and putting people to work,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. "Well, this is not the way to put people to work, to lay off 70,000 construction workers in the middle of the construction season." The government will lose around $1.2 billion in ticket taxes if the shutdown continues until the Senate returns in September, but airline passengers won't be any better off: Most airlines raised their fares by amounts equal to the uncollected taxes as soon as the shutdown began on July 23.

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