With Time Running Out, Another FAA Shutdown Looms

 - September 6, 2011, 11:30 AM

As Congress returns from its month-long break this week, it has a mere 10 days to pass a 22nd extension of the FAA’s operating authority or finally hash out a new long-term funding measure. Otherwise, there could be a repeat of the partial shutdown of the FAA and idling of airport construction workers of four weeks ago. The House and Senate are still at loggerheads over differing FAA reauthorization bills and drew a plea from President Obama last week for lawmakers at least to pass a “clean” extension before the September 16 expiration of the current extension. The major stumbling block appears to be differing provisions that involve unionization of airline employees. But it was cutbacks in rural airport subsidies inserted in the House-passed FAA extension bill in July that led to the FAA furloughs and a halt in airport construction on July 23, which is problematic in northern states where construction seasons are short and winters are long.