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Home Local Maryland Government Announcement Originally published August 04, 2011

SENATORS CALL ON SPEAKER BOEHNER TO USE PRO FORMA SESSIONS TO EXTEND FAA FUNDING, GET WORKERS BACK ON THE JOB



Extending FAA authorization cannot wait until September

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (Both D-MD), with Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez (Both D-NJ), and Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb (Both D-VA) have written Speaker of the House John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), urging the use the pro forma sessions of Congress to extend the current FAA authorization, immediately putting tens of thousands of workers back on the job.

Despite passing 20 short-term extensions previously, right now the House of Representatives is refusing to pass a straightforward extension to the agency’s funding authority. While Congress is on recess, 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration employees and approximately 75,000 construction workers remain out of work, held hostage to the demands of House Republicans.

“We urge you to prevent a prolonged and devastating shutdown of an agency that is so vital to the expedience of U.S. commerce and the safety of the air travelling public. We stand ready to support immediate procedural action to prevent further delay in ending the FAA shutdown,” the Senators wrote. “If a unanimous consent agreement cannot be reached, we request that you immediately call Congress back into session, under regular order, to debate and vote on an FAA authorization extension to restore the full operation of the FAA and get America’s aviation professionals back to work.”

The text of the letter follows (and attached):

Congress must resolve the extension of the authorization for the Federal Aviation Administration immediately. We strongly urge you to take the opportunity during the current pro forma session of Congress to pass by unanimous consent a bill to extend the FAA’s current authorization. If a unanimous consent agreement cannot be reached, we request that you immediately call Congress back into session, under regular order, to debate and vote on an FAA authorization extension to restore the full operation of the FAA and get America’s aviation professionals back to work.

The Federal Aviation Administration has effectively been shut down for thirteen days, resulting in the furlough of 4,000 FAA employees, issuance of stop work orders for more than 200 airport and aviation safety improvement projects that provide jobs for more than 70,000 workers, and the loss of an estimated $350,000,000 in revenues that support the maintenance, improvement and operational safety of our nation’s complex aviation system. To allow this shut down to last until Congress’ scheduled return in September would further harm our already fragile economy.

We urge you to prevent a prolonged and devastating shutdown of an agency that is so vital to the expedience of U.S. commerce and the safety of the air travelling public. We stand ready to support immediate procedural action to prevent further delay in ending the FAA shutdown. We look forward to working with you on this issue.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin
U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski
U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg
U.S. Senator Robert Menendez
U.S. Senator Mark Warner
U.S. Senator Jim Webb