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FAA Prepares to Furlough 4,000 Workers

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Posted on Jul 22, 2011
Flickr / Violaine Bavent (CC-BY)

Furloughed airline workers could include engineers, computer specialists and assistants. Essential employees, such as air traffic controllers, are exempt.

The Federal Aviation Administration is preparing to partially shut down its operations and furlough up to 4,000 employees at midnight Friday after Congress could not agree on details in the legislation to extend the agency’s authority.

When the FAA’s authority expires, airlines will no longer be allowed to collect taxes on ticket sales. So while travelers could save about 20 percent on the price of airline tickets, about $200 million in tax revenue could be lost every week until the issue is resolved. —BF


The House on July 19 approved a bill to keep the FAA funded through Sept. 16. Written by Representative John Mica, a Florida Republican who chairs the House transportation committee, it includes a provision restricting subsidies to small airports that has drawn the ire of leading Senate Democrats.

The House bill would eliminate assistance for air service to 13 rural communities, including towns in Nevada, home state of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; West Virginia, whose senior senator is Mica’s counterpart, Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller; and Montana, whose senior senator, Max Baucus, chairs the Finance Committee.

Rockefeller wrote to Mica on July 19 saying, “Your attempt to punish the Senate by hurting small community air service has backfired—this language only guarantees that the Senate will reject the FAA extension.”

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, July 23, 2011 at 4:53 am Link to this comment

We should RIF 4000 Military before public safety suffers.

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By SteveL, July 22, 2011 at 9:32 pm Link to this comment

14th Amendment Section 4
>>>>The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law<<<<, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, >>>shall not be questioned<<<. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

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Diogenes the Dog's avatar

By Diogenes the Dog, July 22, 2011 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

This is totally misleading, as is the linked article. Reading this, one comes away with the impression that the dispute is about “restricting subsidies to small airports.” That’s just a tool to try and force the Senate to do the House’s bidding. This is really about union-busting.

The National Mediation Board approved a rule-change last year allowing workers in the airline and railroad industries to form a union with a simple majority. Under the old rules, workers who didn’t vote had their votes counted as a “no” vote. House Republicans inserted into the long-term FAA funding bill a provision overturning the NMB rule-change. Representative John Mica, a Republican from Florida, who introduced the current short-term funding bill, admitted that he inserted the restrictions on subsidies to small airports to “send the Senate a message that we want this finally resolved.” Furthermore, of the thirteen airports that would lose subsidies under this provision, one is in the home state of Senator Harry Reid, one is in the state of Senator Jay Rockefeller, and one is in the home state of Senator Max Baucus—the first in the Senate Majority Leader and the latter two chair Senate Committees which have jurisdiction over the bill or parts of it. Coincidence? Clearly not.

So, in a scenario all too familiar with the Republican class of 2010 (both at the federal and local levels), this is not about what it seems but yet another an attack on the rights of workers to unionize.

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By Gmonst, July 22, 2011 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

Our government is nothing more than a bad joke at this point.  The whole system needs an overhaul so drastic, I fear we have have gone beyond the point of no return.  We are slipping down the drain and who knows when we hit bottom or what the bottom will be.

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