Congress left town this week for its traditional August recess, but the House and Senate remained at odds over a bill that would have temporarily funded the FAA until Sept. 16, more a week after they are scheduled to come back to Washington.
The House passed a version of the measure that included cuts to rural airport subsidies, which Senate Democrats said was in retaliation to their objection to labor provisions in a longer-term deal to fund the FAA for several years.
Obama said Wednesday that "Congress decided to play politics with” the FAA reauthorization.
“As a consequence, they left town without getting this done,” he said, calling the shutdown an “example of a self-inflicted wound" that “put the livelihood of thousands at risk.”
House and Senate leaders traded accusations Wednesday about who was at fault for the FAA shutdown, but neither side appeared ready to make an effort to end the impasse.
The shutdown is estimated to be costing the federal government $30 million per day because the FAA cannot collect taxes on airline ticket purchases until Congress authorizes it.