Coburn pushes back on union criticism over FAA funding showdown

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The CWA, which is the parent group of the union for flight attendants, said this week that Coburn had extreme views that could have led to another FAA shutdown.

If Republican colleagues successfully pressured Tom Coburn … why won’t they do the same to Rep. John Mica [R-Fla.] and his extreme, union-busting views that led to the last FAA shutdown? CWA spokeswoman Candice Johnson said Monday in a news release.

The fight between the union and Coburn and Mica highlights what has become an ideological battle over the normally routine matter of the FAA’s funding. Mostly because of labor disputes, lawmakers have approved 22 short-term extensions of the FAA bill, and a long-term bill appears out of reach, though it has been passed in different forms by both the House and Senate.

The House approved a four-year, $59 billion bill for the FAA, which in addition to being longer and less expensive per year than the two-year, $34 billion bill the Senate passed, includes an effort to make it harder for transportation workers to unionize that drew a veto threat from President Obama.

Coburn eventually agreed to drop his opposition to a short-term extension before a deadline of last Friday in exchange for votes on separate amendments that addressed his issues. The amendments failed, and the larger bill was approved on a 92-6 vote.