The 4,000 furloughed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) workers and 90,000 workers on airport construction projects stalled by the Republican shutdown of the FAA are worrying about how they will pay their bills in the coming weeks.
But the only worry House Republicans have is how they are going to spend their six-week summer vacation. House Republicans leaders adjourned the House last night until Sept. 7 without taking action on reauthorizing an FAA bill so the agency—shutdown since July 22—could reopen and construction funds move down the pipeline again.
Republicans grounded the FAA because they want to take away democratic union elections for aviation and rail workers.
In a letter to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Reps. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) and Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) called the adjournment irresponsible and inexcusable.
At the height of the summer travel season and construction season, and with more than 1.3 million construction workers out of work, it is inexcusable that Congress would leave so many American jobs in jeopardy.
The Republican “my way or the runway” shotgun approach to negotiating the future of our nation’s aviation system has jeopardized nearly 90,000 American jobs, furloughed 3,600 engineers, safety analysts and aviation experts and has cost nearly $300 million in lost revenue.
While other vital FAA safety employees have been furloughed, air traffic controllers remain on the job. In a letter to House leaders, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) and other aviation groups say the shutdown:
will have a long term negative impact on the national aviation system. Critical safety and security projects will be canceled or deferred and thousands of jobs will be lost.
Along with the job loss, the shutdown also is costing taxpayers $200 million a week in uncollected aviation taxes.
Earlier yesterday, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) was working on a compromise temporary reauthorization bill and urged House leaders to stay in session to vote on the measure. But in a hurry to get to their vacation hideaways, Republicans packed their bags and left town. Said Rockefeller:
The Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee [Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.)] has made it clear that House Republicans are willing to shut down the FAA in order to stick it to airline employees….It’s a tragedy that never had to happen. It’s a tragedy about ego, about bullying, about proving that one side is willing to cave.