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Deal struck to end FAA standoff -- for now

August 04, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli and Lisa Mascaro | Washington Bureau
  • A fence secures the perimeter of a half-completed 236-foot FAA control tower at Oakland International Airport on Wednesday.
A fence secures the perimeter of a half-completed 236-foot FAA control… (Justin Sullivan / Getty…)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday announced a deal to temporarily fund the Federal Aviation Administration, ending a standoff that has left 74,000 transportation and construction workers furloughed and cost the government millions of dollars in lost revenues from ticketing fees.

After a deal was struck last weekend to end the debt-ceiling crisis, Democrats ramped up pressure to resolve the impasse over the agency's funding, which centered on a small but contentious provision that would have cut subsidies for rural airports.  

A broader bill has stalled over a provision that would make it more difficult for air and rail workers to unionize.

Under the terms of the deal announced by Reid, the compromise does not resolve those differences.

"But I believe we should keep Americans working while Congress settles its differences, and this agreement will do exactly that," he said.

The last long-term funding authorization for the FAA expired in 2007. Since then, congressional leaders have passed 20 separate stopgap funding measures while they work out details of a new aviation bill.

Most members of Congress left Washington after voting on the debt-ceiling package, but the FAA deal could still be approved by unanimous consent because neither chamber has formally adjourned.

The Senate was expected to act during a pro forma session Friday.

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