Aviation industry unions to push for FAA funding extension

Aviation employee unions are pressing lawmakers to immediately pass another appropriations bill for the Federal Aviation Administration before funding for the agency expires next week. 

Members of the Air Line Pilots association, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the Association for Flight Attendants and the Allied Pilots Association will make the case for a funding bill on Wednesday morning at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport.

The union officials might even have a chance to lobby lawmakers in person, since so many of them are flying back to Washington from the summer recess.

The unions will be pushing Congress to approve a funding measure for the FAA before the current law that appropriates the money to the agency runs out on Sept. 16. The existing measure was approved after an impasse between the Republican-led House and Democratically-controlled Senate led to the agency being shutdown for nearly two weeks. 

About 4,000 FAA workers were furloughed for 13 days during the FAA shutdown, which cost the federal government $30 million per day because sales taxes on airplane ticket sales were not collected. 

Additionally, transportation observers estimated 70,000 construction workers were placed out-of-work as more than 200 airport projects were stalled. 

If Congress passes another short-term extension of FAA funding before next week, it would be the 22nd continuance since the last long-term bill for the agency expired in 2007. 

Negotiations on a larger FAA funding bill were bogged down this spring by debate over labor rights for transportation workers.