Congress once again ran FAA operations almost to the wire last month before finally agreeing on a 22nd “temporary” extension of the agency’s operating authority, thus preventing another partial shutdown of the FAA and a work stoppage affecting more than 200 airport construction projects and safety improvements.
Although the House approved a stopgap bill on Tuesday to avoid another partial FAA shutdown tomorrow, the measure has been bottled up in the Senate over procedural rules and the intransigence of one senator. Because the measure includes highway funding, Sen.
• When the dog days of August arrived, Congress adjourned for five weeks, leaving a number of major bills hanging fire. Among them were legislation aimed at resolving energy problems. After the House voted to adjourn, a group of feisty Republicans stayed on the floor–no microphones and dimmed lights–and demanded that Democratic leaders come back and take action on energy legislation. Democrats declined.
• As Washington pundits predicted, the $3.1 trillion budget President Bush proposed for the federal fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2008, received a cold reception from Democrats; Republicans were lukewarm on it. This being an election year, Presidential goals are not necessarily those of lawmakers and contentious negotiations might not resolve differences by election day.
• In view of the enormous funds allocated for hurricane relief ($62 billion to date with more to come) and a mounting budget deficit, President Bush and legislators in both houses of Congress have been pushing programs that would reduce federal spending.
• When Congress returned from its summer sojourn, lawmakers had 15 workdays scheduled for September. Very few, if any, were on the books for this month, as lawmakers will spend considerable time preparing for the November elections.