Tea Party group: LaHood can't legally waive airport subsidy cuts

The House and Senate agreed on Thursday that the Senate would pass the short-term FAA bill that was approved by the House in July, which included cuts to subsidies for flights to rural airports in Nevada, Montana and West Virginia. But LaHood will use his executive branch authority to exempt the airports from the cuts.

The partial shutdown of the FAA was estimated to have cost the federal government $30 million per day because the agency was not authorized to collect taxes that would normally be paid on airline ticket sales.

Transportation observers estimate the shutdown has also placed about 70,000 construction workers out of work because about 200 airport construction projects have been placed on hold.

Pressed on the fact that original FAA bill approved by the House expressly authorizes LaHood to waive cuts to the Essential Air Service program, Kerpen said “The provision is narrow and does not create discretion for a blanket waiver to advance Democratic political objectives.

"What are the "geographic characteristics" of Morgantown, WV (just 60 miles from Pittsburgh International Airport) other than being represented by a prominent Democratic senator who forced an FAA shutdown," he asked. "This is outright abuse of power.”

-Erik Wasson contributed to this report.