Senate Passes Measure Ending Air Traffic Controller Furloughs; House Expected to Follow Suit
With hundreds of thousands of air passengers facing delays at airports throughout the country this week, it appears Congress is ready to put an end to the furloughs causing this mess.
Thursday, the Senate passed a measure ending furloughs for air traffic controllers and opening the roughly 150 air traffic control towers in rural areas that were temporarily shuttered due to mandatory sequestration cuts. The bill grants the FAA additional flexibility to shift funds between agency accounts, allowing them to fill the funding holes using resources from their new airports fund. In total, the measure will shift $253 million between accounts.
According to Government Executive magazine, the House is expected to take up the measure in short order, holding a vote as early as today. The legislation is widely anticipated to pass – just in time for members of Congress to fly home for the weekend.
Though ending air traffic controller furloughs is a good start, there are many FAA workers who will receive no relief from furloughs. In fact, many of them have already taken their first furlough day. Nowhere in this debate were these employees even mentioned.
“There is still a great deal of work that needs to be done to stop furloughs at FAA,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “Thousands of non-air-traffic-control workers are still facing furloughs, furloughs that will do irreparable damage to their already-strained finances. These workers are not invisible. They make great contributions to the safety of our flying public as well, and they deserve to go to work.”