Political Headlines April 26, 2013: House of Representatives Approves Bill to End FAA Federal Aviation Administration Furloughs with a Vote of 361-41

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Goodbye, Flight Delays? House Approves Bill to End FAA Furloughs

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-26-13

The House of Representatives gave overwhelming support Friday to a bill that will ease the furloughs of air traffic controllers.

On a vote of 361-41, the House followed the Senate’s lead and rolled back the Federal Aviation Administration’s sequester that had been causing flight delays across the country this week….READ MORE

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Political Headlines August 4, 2011: Congress Reaches Bipartisan Deal Ending Impasse & Partial Shutdown of the FAA – Federal Aviation Administration

POLITICAL HEADLINES

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

The US Senate today approved legislation that will temporarily extend funding for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Deal is reached to end FAA shutdown, Sen. Harry Reid says: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday there is a bipartisan compromise to end the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration that has left 74,000 transportation and construction workers idled. In a statement, the majority leader did not specify details. But other officials say they expect the Senate to accept a House-passed bill as early as Friday.

“This agreement does not resolve the important differences that still remain. But I believe we should keep Americans working while Congress settles its differences, and this agreement will do exactly that.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

“I’m pleased that leaders in Congress are working together to break the impasse involving the FAA so that tens of thousands of construction workers and others can go back to work. We can’t afford to let politics in Washington hamper our recovery, so this is an important step forward.” — President Barack Obama

  • Deal in Senate restores FAA funding. Is bipartisanship taking off?: Obama hails the extension of FAA funding through mid-September, which restores tens of thousands of jobs and resumes the collection of $30 million a day in revenue for the Treasury…. – CS Monitor, 8-4-11
  • Reid: Congress reaches deal to end FAA shutdown: Congress has reached a bipartisan compromise to end a two-week partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration that has idled tens of thousands of workers and cost the government about $30 million a day in uncollected airline ticket taxes, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said Thursday.
    The deal would allow the Senate to approve a House bill extending the FAA’s operating authority through mid-September, including a provision that eliminates $16.5 million in air service subsidies to 13 rural communities. Passage of the bill is expected Friday.
    Senators have scattered for their August recess, but the measure can be approved if leaders from both parties agree to adopt it by “unanimous consent.”
    Republicans had insisted on the subsidy cuts as their price for restoring the FAA to full operation. But the cuts may become moot…. — AP, 8-4-11
  • Obama praises deal to halt aviation shutdown: President Barack Obama is praising a bipartisan deal that will end the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration and get thousands of workers back on the job.
    Obama says the nation “can’t afford to let politics in Washington hamper our recovery.” He says he’s pleased to see leaders in Congress working together to settle the issue.
    The FAA flap has become another embarrassment for the federal government…. – AP, 8-4-11
  • Senate poised to approve legislation ending partial FAA shutdown and returning workers to jobs: The Senate is poised to pass legislation ending a two-week partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration that has cost the government about $400 million in uncollected airline ticket taxes and idled thousands of workers.
    A bipartisan compromise reached Thursday cleared the way for the Senate to approve a House bill extending the FAA’s operating authority through mid-September, including a provision that eliminates $16.5 million in air service subsidies to 13 rural communities. Senators have scattered for their August recess, but the measure can be approved Friday if leaders from both parties agree to adopt it by “unanimous consent.”
    FAA employees could return to work and payments for airport construction projects could resume as soon as Monday if President Barack Obama signs the bill over the weekend, transportation officials said…. – WaPo, 8-4-11
  • Congress reaches deal to end FAA shutdown: Congressional leaders struck a deal on Thursday to resolve a partisan dispute and end a partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration that has halted airport projects and threatened thousands of jobs.
    The standoff, which began on July 22, centered on partisan differences over full funding of the agency through the middle of next month.
    In addition to idled construction projects, the gridlock allowed airlines to stop collecting more than $30 million per day in ticket taxes, leaving a hole in government revenue for aviation priorities but giving carriers a big windfall…. – Reuters, 8-4-11
  • Congress agrees on stopgap funding for FAA workers: Congressional leaders reached agreement Thursday on temporary funding for the Federal Aviation Administration, ending a stalemate that cost 4,000 furloughed federal workers almost two weeks of pay and shortchanged the Treasury of more than $300 million.
    “This agreement does not resolve the important differences that still remain,” Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday afternoon. “But I believe we should keep Americans working while Congress settles its differences, and this agreement will do exactly that.”
    It was uncertain whether Congress would act to restore back pay to the furloughed FAA employees. Tens of thousands of construction workers who have been laid off since July 23 seemed unlikely to recoup their lost wages.
    Mike MacDonald, regional vice president of an FAA union, said he was not focused on whether furloughed workers would receive back pay. “We’re just really glad we’re getting back to work,” he said…. – WaPo, 8-4-11

Full Text August 3, 2011: President Obama’s Remarks on Congress FAA — Federal Aviation Administration Impasse

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Secretary Ray LaHood: Senate Approves FAA Extension; Tens of Thousands Can Go Back to Work

Source: WH, 8-5-11

I am thrilled this morning that the Senate has approved an FAA bill.  It is a tremendous victory for American workers everywhere.

I’m thrilled for our dedicated FAA employees who will be able to go back to work on Monday.  And I’m thrilled for the tens of thousands of hardworking workers who can go back to airport construction sites around the country.

As a matter of fairness, we will also do everything we can to get Congress to provide our furloughed employees with the back pay they deserve.

This was really no time to stop work on so many critical airport improvement projects — right in the middle of the construction season. But now, these good workers can get back on the job Monday doing the work they want to do, earning a good wage, and taking care of their families. And I am very, very happy for them.

I want to thank President Obama for his attention to this situation.  Even during the days of intense debt and deficit discussions, he insisted to me, “Take care of our employees. Take care of the construction workers. Figure this out.  Get it done.”

So that’s what we did.  We worked with Congress day and night to figure out a way to get these people back on the job.  And, thanks to the leadership of Senators Reid, Rockefeller, Hutchison and Baucus, we got it done.

Now, before we get too carried away, let’s remember that this extension only lasts until September 16; there’s still work to do so we can get a long term FAA bill.

But I’m optimistic that, with so many jobs on the line in these tough economic times, Congress can work out its differences.  President Obama really put his finger on it when he said, “We can’t afford to let politics in Washington hamper our recovery.”

From construction workers to our dedicated FAA employees, they will all have the security of knowing they are going to go back to work and will get a paycheck — and that’s what we’ve been fighting for.

We have the best aviation system in the world, and we intend to keep it that way.

Ray LaHood is the Secretary of Transportation.

The President Tells Congress: Don’t Put the Livelihoods of Thousands of People at Risk

Source: WH, 8-3-11

Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (55MB) | mp3 (5MB)

 

Remarks by the President before Cabinet Meeting

Cabinet Room

2:05 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, obviously, this has been an eventful last few days.  As I have said yesterday, we have now averted what could have been a disastrous blow to the economy.  And we have identified on the front end over a trillion dollars in spending reductions that can be done sensibly and safely without affecting core programs.  And we now have a committee process in Congress that is charged with finding additional savings.  It’s going to be challenging work, and I’m encouraging Congress to take it with the utmost seriousness.

In the meantime, the American people have been continuing to worry about the underlying state of the economy, about jobs, about their wages, about reduced hours, about fewer customers.  The economy is still weakened, partly because of some things we couldn’t control, like the Japanese earthquake and the situation in the Europe, as well as the Arab Spring and its effect on the oil crisis.  Unfortunately, the debt ceiling crisis over the last month, I think, has had an unnecessary negative impact on the economy here, as well.

So I’m meeting with my Cabinet here to make sure that, even as they have been throughout these last several weeks, they are redoubling their efforts to focus on what matters most to the American people, and that is, how are we going to put people back to work; how are we going to raise their wages; increase their security; how are we going to make sure that they recover fully, as families and as communities, from the worst recession we’ve had since the Great Depression.

A good example of how undone work here in Washington can have an adverse impact on that economy is what’s going on with the Federal Aviation Administration.  And I’m going to be hearing from Ray LaHood about the situation that is looming as a consequence of Congress not acting.  Some of you may be aware of the fact that the FAA routinely gets its authorities extended through Congress; it’s happened 20 times since 2007.  This time, Congress has decided to play some politics with it.  And as a consequence, they left town without getting this extension done.

Here is what this means — thousands of FAA workers being furloughed, including safety inspectors.  It also means projects all across the country involving tens of thousands of construction workers being suspended, because Congress didn’t get its work done.  And that means folks who are on construction sites, doing work and bringing home a paycheck, now potentially find themselves going home without one, and important projects all across the country are left undone.

Here’s what also happens.  It turns out that this extension gives the authority to collect fees from airlines.  The airlines are still collecting these fees because it’s priced into their tickets, but they’re not turning them over to the federal government, and the federal government stands to lose $200 million a week.  That would be a billion dollars at a time when we’re worrying about how we pay for everything from education to Head Start.  And we don’t anticipate it’s going to be easy to get that money back.  Even though the airlines are collecting it, they’re keeping it.

So this is a lose-lose-lose situation that can be easily solved if Congress gets back into town and does its job.  And they don’t even have to come back into town.  The House and the Senate could, through a procedural agreement, basically do this through unanimous consent.  And they can have the fights that they want to have when they get back.  Don’t put the livelihoods of thousands of people at risk. Don’t put projects at risk.  And don’t let a billion dollars, at a time when we’re scrambling for every dollar we can, get left on the table because Congress did not act.

So I’m urging the House and the Senate to take care of this.  This is an example of a self-inflicted wound that is unnecessary.  And my expectation and I think the American people’s expectation is, is that this gets resolved before the end of this week.

All right?  Thank you very much, everybody.

Q    Mr. President, anything that you can do, sir?  Can you intervene?  Is there anything you can do?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I am — I have made calls to key leaders, and I am urging them to get this done.  But this is, as I said, not the kind of situation that is complicated.  All they have to do is do what they’ve done 20 times since 2007.  There’s not a big issue in terms of drafting legislation or arguing about the details of policy.  Just do what they’ve done in the past to make sure that these folks are on the job, including looking after the safety of our airlines.

All right?  Thank you very much.

Q    Are you ready for 5-0, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m going to get advice from some around the table — (laughter) — about how to handle this milestone.  (Laughter.)  All right?

END  2:11 P.M. EDT

Political Headlines August 2, 2011: Senate Fails to End Partial Shutdown of the F.A.A. — Federal Aviation Administration

POLITICAL HEADLINES

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Senate Fails to End Partial Shutdown at F.A.A.:  After dealing with the debt crisis, Senate negotiators tried and failed Tuesday to end a stalemate over temporary funding for the Federal Aviation Administration, leaving 4,000 F.A.A. employees out of work and relying on airport safety inspectors to continue working without pay.
The partial F.A.A. shutdown, which began July 23 and is likely to continue at least through Labor Day, has also idled tens of thousands of construction workers on airport projects around the country. Dozens of airport inspectors have been asked by the F.A.A. to work without pay and to charge their government travel expenses to their personal credit cards to keep airports operating safely…. READ MORE

QUOTES

President Obama: FAA Shutdown a “Washington-Inflicted Wound on America”

Source: WH, 8-2-11

The President today urged Congress to resolve another impasse that is impacting our country’s ability to grow and thrive.

“And there is another stalemate in Congress right now involving our aviation industry which has stalled airport construction projects all around the country – and put the jobs of tens of thousands of construction workers and others at risk – because of politics.  It’s another Washington-inflicted wound on America, and Congress needs to break that impasse now so these folks can get back to work.”

Since Congress refused to approve its budget 11 days ago, the Federal Aviation Administration has been without the authorization to go about a portion of its daily business, which is costing taxpayers money and putting Americans out of work. The shutdown lifted the requirement for airlines to collect certain ticket taxes, resulting in a loss of $250 million in revenue so far that would have gone to a trust fund that helps pay for airport infrastructure projects. A shutdown through August could raise that total to more than $1 billion.

The agency has been forced to issue 200 stop-work orders and turn 70,000 construction workers away from their jobs at airports across the country. The FAA also put approximately 4,000 public servants on unpaid leave in 35 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Every day this situation continues, the consequences mount, wrote Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in The Hill today:

“Runway paving, rehabilitation and extension projects are on hold. America’s transition from the radar-based airspace management system of the 20th century to the satellite-based airspace management system of the future is at a standstill.

Worst of all, the American people are paying the economic toll. At a time when 1 in 5 construction workers is looking for employment, 70,000 will idle away the peak of construction season at home, without pay.

On 20 occasions since 2007, the Congress has passed short-term measures to keep the FAA up and running. This is an imperfect solution because it creates enormous uncertainty for states, airports and contractors, but at least it keeps American workers on the job site. There is absolutely no reason that Congress can’t pass another temporary fix while it works out the details of a longer-term vision for the future of America’s air transportation system.”

LaHood, who served 14 years in Congress, is asking his former colleagues to act before they leave on their summer breaks. “Don’t race to your departure gate while leaving America’s air transportation system grounded. With one act — with a vote that you’ve already cast 20 times — you can put almost 75,000 people back to work immediately. For the sake of our communities, our economy and the best aviation system in the world, let’s give the politics an August rest — and cut American workers a much-needed break.”

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