By Keith Laing - 08/09/11 05:32 PM EDT
A bill has been filed to pay Federal Aviation Administration workers for time they missed from work as a result of the partial shutdown of the agency. A total of 4,000 workers were furloughed for nearly two weeks.
The bill, dubbed the "Furloughed FAA Employees Compensation Act," was introduced Tuesday by Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee officials said. The measure is co-sponsored by Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) and Reps. Peter King (R-N.Y.), Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Jon Runyan (R-N.J.).
LoBiondo said Tuesday paying the employees for the time they missed during the congressional wrangling was the right thing to do.
“For the past two weeks it was important to get these workers back on the job. Now my focus is to get them back pay and to ensure this avoidable situation never happens again,” he said in a statement.
Mica, who was criticized by Democrats during the shutdown for what they said was his placement of airline wishes over FAA employees, agreed.
“This legislation is the right thing to do to ensure that the thousands of hardworking FAA employees who got temporarily left behind by the unnecessary partial shutdown of the agency will not be financially penalized,” Mica said in a statement. “The House and Senate must now work to ensure the end of a 4½ year delay in passing a long-term FAA bill.”
The shutdown, which lasted 13 days, was estimated to have cost the federal government $30 million per day. In addition to the FAA workers, transportation observers say about 70,000 workers were put out of work by canceled airport construction projects.
The bill that was approved to end the shutdown last week only funds the FAA through Sept. 16, so the debate about the agency's funding will likely resume as soon as lawmakers return from their traditional August recess.
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