By Keith Laing
FAA Managers Association President David Conley told The Hill in an interview that he has been told a standalone measure, which is sponsored by Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), could be taken up next week, presuming the fight to extend the agency's funding beyond Friday is ultimately resolved.
"They want to make sure they get the extension, then take this up," Conley said of the back-pay bill, which has been dubbed the "Furloughed FAA Employees Compensation Act.”
"My understanding of the process is that [it will be approved] next week," he continued. "There should not be any objection."
LoBiondo spokesman Jason Galanes told The Hill on Thursday morning that a timeframe for the bill had not been completely finalized, but that the lawmaker was "exploring multiple avenues" for getting the FAA workers back pay.
It was thought that there would not be any objection to the bipartisan deal between Democrats and Republicans in the House to combine highway and aviation funding, but with Coburn and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sniping at each other on the floor Wednesday evening, its passage remains in doubt.
The last shutdown of the FAA, for 13 days in August, was projected to have cost the federal government $30 million per day because sales taxes on airline tickets were not able to be collected. About 4,000 FAA workers were furloughed, and transportation groups said another 70,000 construction workers were put out of work.
The highway bill, which among other things authorizes the collection of the federal gas tax, is set to expire Sept. 30.