Airports Council to Obama: Bring Congress back to end FAA shutdown

ADVERTISEMENT
"We are twelve days into the FAA Shutdown, and with Congress having left town we are now faced with the prospect of operating this way past Labor Day and that is simply unacceptable," he continued. "Airports, large and small, are left without the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding needed to move forward on approved safety and security construction projects; projects which in the majority of cases have already been put out to bid. This doesn’t include the 200 projects where stop work orders have left construction sites at airports empty and construction crews without paychecks."

The Airport Council's call for a special session was echoed Wednesday by Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), who said "Congress must ensure our safety and our national security is not at risk without a comprehensive, long-term reauthorization of the FAA Act.

“Aviation contributes over 1.2 trillion in economic activity and provides 11 million jobs annually," Jackson Lee said in a statement released by her office Wednesday. "The partial FAA shut down has had a negative impact on the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, furloughed employees, and stop work order measures that have halted construction on key infrastructure projects, such as the $25 million dollar construction of Replacement TRACON in Houston, have all caused adverse economic conditions for airports, including the Houston Airport System, and airports across the nation.”

Earlier Wednesday, President Obama said that the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration was another example "of how undone work in Washington can have an adverse effect on the economy."

He called on Congress to use "a procedural agreement" to solve the impasse that has led to 4,000 FAA workers being furloughed since July 23.

This is a lose lose lose situation that can easily be solved,” Obama said Wednesday. “This is not the kind of thing that is complicated.”

Transportation Secretary LaHood, a former Republican congressman, appeared at the White House press briefing and made the interview rounds Wednesday, blaming the GOP for the shutdown.

The FAA is shutdown because of “one or two people who wouldn’t compromise,” LaHood said, though he did not specify the one or two people he was talking about.

LaHood praised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for being willing to accept cuts to rural air service subsidies in his state to end the shutdown, saying Reid "stood tall."

The GOP, however, had been "stubborn," LaHood said in an interview on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” show. 

The FAA shutdown is estimated to have cost the federal government $30 million per day because the agency cannot collect sales taxes on airline ticket purchases that normally go into the Aviation Trust Fund unless it is authorized to do so by Congress. 

This post was updated with new information at 4:54 p.m.