Obama Demands Senate Pass FAA Bill Before Vacation

Posted August 2nd, 2011 at 6:20 pm (UTC-5)
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President Barack Obama is demanding that the U.S. Senate pass a bill renewing the operating authority of the Federal Aviation Administration before lawmakers adjourn for their August vacation.

Mr. Obama Tuesday called the congressional stalemate that has forced the FAA to partially shut down another Washington-inflicted wound on America. He said failure to pass an FAA bill has stalled airport construction projects, at a cost of tens of thousands of jobs.

The FAA's authority to operate ran out on July 23. As of now, the agency cannot collect federal taxes on airline tickets, costing the government billions of dollars. Airport construction projects have been suspended. About 4,000 FAA employees have been laid off.

An FAA bill passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. But Senate Democrats object to a provision in the House bill eliminating subsidies for air service in small towns and rural communities.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood promises that air traffic controllers will stay on the job and that the congressional impasse will not put passenger safety at risk.