Senate Dems to Boehner: Appoint FAA conferees

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The senators said the absence of a conference committee was "the main obstacle standing in the way of Congress’ ability to produce a bipartisan, long-term, extension of the FAA.

"With another deadline for an FAA extension looming in just a few short weeks, we encourage you to use your authority to appoint House conferees during the pro-forma session so that we may resolve our issues and put Americans back to work," they said.

In an op-ed in one of his hometown papers Tuesday, Mica similarly blamed Democrats for the shutdown of the FAA and said they should accept House provisions to avert another shutdown.

"The American people have witnessed firsthand during this minor difference of opinion — blown up into a crisis by Senate Democrats — how truly difficult it is to bring about even modest reforms and cut wasteful programs in Washington," he said. 

About 4,000 FAA workers were furloughed for nearly two weeks when the agency was partially shut down because of an impasse between Republicans in the House and Democrats in the Senate over a short-term funding bill.

Negotiations on a larger bill have stalled since the spring, when the House included a provision to undo labor rules designed to make it easier for transportation employees to unionize.

The provisions, which address rules changed last year by the National Mediation Board, drew a veto threat from President Obama.

The shutdown of the FAA was projected to cost the federal government about $30 million per day as sales taxes on airline ticket purchases could not be collected without congressional action. 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.