House Republican Leadership’s “My Way or the Runway” Shotgun Approach Causes Midnight FAA Shutdown

Jul 22, 2011

—Nearly 90,000 American Construction Workers Will See Their Paychecks Halted, 3,600 FAA Aviation Experts Furloughed to Appease Tea Party Extremists—
 

Washington, D.C.– The House Republican leadership today will shut down major parts of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at midnight to appease Tea Party extremists, a risky bet that will jeopardize $2.5 billion in construction projects, 87,000 American construction jobs, furlough 3,600 FAA aviation engineers, safety analysts, and other career professionals in 35 states, and cost $200 million per week in lost revenue.

“By senselessly shutting down the FAA tonight at midnight, the House Republican leadership is willing to lay off tens of thousands of middle class American construction workers and jeopardize billions of dollars in airport construction simply to score a few political points for Tea Party extremists,” said U.S. Representative Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  “Republicans are holding hostage America’s aviation system with their “my way or the runway” shotgun approach to negotiating a long-term FAA reauthorization.  This is no way to run the best aviation system in the world.”

On April 7, 2011, the Senate requested the House meet in a conference to resolve the differences between the House- and Senate-passed long-term FAA reauthorization bills.  More than 100 days later, the House has taken no action to agree to a conference.  Despite claims by Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL) that such differences could be resolved “in 20 minutes,” the House Republican leadership is holding the negotiations hostage and has been unwilling to negotiate the differences between the bills in an open and transparent process.

“Instead of working through the weekend as they originally announced they would do, it is inexcusable that they are now allowing their Members to use America’s world-class aviation system to fly home mere hours before they force the FAA to shut down,” said Rahall.  “While Republicans are taking the weekend off by choice, nearly 90,000 American construction workers will see their projects and paychecks come to a halt.  It is unconscionable that the House Republican leadership is playing chicken with our aviation system, simply to shill for a Tea Party that is more focused on the next election than on America’s next generation.”

In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday, Rahall and U.S. Representative Jerry Costello (D-IL), top Democrat on the Aviation Subcommittee, called on the Speaker to appoint a conference committee to move the process forward in an open and transparent fashion.

“We cannot afford to play politics with construction projects and paychecks for middle class Americans because the future of our aviation system is simply too important,” said Rahall.  “I commend Senator Jay Rockefeller for his willingness to reach an agreement that would put Americans to work and improve the safety of our skies, even when the House Republican leadership chose to play politics and refused to negotiate.”

“Make no mistake, the FAA is shutting down on the House Republicans’ watch,”  said Costello.  “The American people can see this for what it is - another example of Republicans legislating their way or no way.  Instead of negotiating our differences and passing a long-term FAA authorization bill, the Republicans would rather shut down the FAA.  This does not create jobs or help our economic recovery.  The Republicans are taking their ball and going home, literally, while thousands of workers lose a paycheck.  This is not responsible leadership.”

The Republican-led FAA shutdown that begins at midnight tonight will lead to construction jobs lost in every state and FAA aviation experts furloughed in 35 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

House Republican Leadership
Jeopardizes More than 90,000 Airport Construction and FAA Employee Jobs
July 22, 2011

 

Airport Construction
Funding Lost

Airport Construction Jobs Lost

FAA Employee
Jobs Lost

Total
Jobs Lost

Alabama

$32,400,000

1,127

 

1,127

Alaska

$69,700,000

2,424

79

2,503

Arizona

$35,100,000

1,221

1

1,222

Arkansas

$25,900,000

901

 

901

California

$131,500,000

4,573

206

4,779

Colorado

$34,200,000

1,189

27

1,216

Connecticut

$4,700,000

163

1

164

Delaware

$800,000

28

 

28

District of Columbia

$300,000

10

1,016

1,026

Florida

$88,000,000

3,061

27

3,088

Georgia

$67,100,000

2,334

336

2,670

Hawaii

$21,300,000

741

5

746

Idaho

$17,500,000

609

2

611

Illinois

$90,300,000

3,141

145

3,286

Indiana

$19,400,000

675

7

682

Iowa

$41,100,000

1,429

 

1,429

Kansas

$41,900,000

1,457

15

1,472

Kentucky

$18,700,000

650

 

650

Louisiana

$33,500,000

1,165

 

1,165

Maine

$12,700,000

442

 

442

Maryland

$9,100,000

316

7

323

Massachusetts

$17,900,000

623

55

678

Michigan

$36,400,000

1,266

22

1,288

Minnesota

$36,200,000

1,259

18

1,277

Mississippi

$34,600,000

1,203

10

1,213

Missouri

$24,600,000

856

80

936

Montana

$18,700,000

650

3

653

Nebraska

$21,900,000

762

 

762

Nevada

$36,000,000

1,252

1

1,253

New Hampshire

$3,700,000

129

42

171

New Jersey

$44,700,000

1,555

651

2,206

New Mexico

$25,400,000

883

4

887

New York

$62,600,000

2,177

127

2,304

North Carolina

$45,600,000

1,586

 

1,586

North Dakota

$22,800,000

793

7

800

Ohio

$38,900,000

1,353

5

1,358

Oklahoma

$54,800,000

1,906

133

2,039

Oregon

$16,500,000

574

 

574

Pennsylvania

$28,300,000

984

25

1,009

Rhode Island

$1,100,000

38

 

38

South Carolina

$30,700,000

1,068

 

1,068

South Dakota

$25,700,000

894

2

896

Tennessee

$34,700,000

1,207

13

1,220

Texas

$72,100,000

2,508

267

2,775

Utah

$10,100,000

351

5

356

Vermont

$4,800,000

167

 

167

Virginia

$40,500,000

1,409

29

1,438

Washington

$37,900,000

1,318

215

1,533

West Virginia

$10,800,000

376

3

379

Wisconsin

$25,300,000

880

 

880

Wyoming

$15,900,000

553

 

553

Puerto Rico

$15,900,000

553

3

556

Other Territories

$9,900,000

344

 

344

Discretionary Grants

$800,000,000

27,823

 

27,823

TOTAL

    $2,500,200,000

86,954

3,594

90,548

Note:  This table was prepared by Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Democratic Staff based on technical assistance from the Federal Aviation Administration.  The Airport Construction Jobs Lost column is based on the 2007 Federal-aid Highway Administration model on the correlation between infrastructure investment and employment:  $1 billion of Federal-aid Highway investment creates or sustains 34,779 jobs over a seven-year period.    

 

Attachment: Chart of FAA furloughs by city

Attachment: House Republican Leadership Jeopardizes More than 90,000 Airport Construction and FAA Employee Jobs

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