Senate Votes to Send Aviation Officials Back to Work

Posted August 5th, 2011 at 11:00 am (UTC-5)
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The U.S. Senate has voted to end a partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration, the agency that oversees the nation's airlines and air safety.

Friday's vote follows an agreement announced Thursday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The bill had already passed in the House of Representatives. It still needs to be signed by U.S. President Barack Obama.

The interim deal will put 74,000 transportation and construction workers back on the job after a nearly two-week hiatus and fund FAA operations through September. But Reid said it does not resolve key differences on future funding, something lawmakers will need to work out when they return to Capitol Hill next month from their summer recess.

President Obama praised U.S. lawmakers for the deal. In a statement Thursday, he said Americans cannot afford to let Washington politics hurt the country's economic recovery.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has called the measure a “tremendous victory” for American workers everywhere.

He said the shutdown halted $11 billion worth of airport expansion projects.

The partial shutdown, which started July 23, blocked the government from collecting taxes on airline tickets, often about $25 on a $300 round-trip flight. The shutdown cost the government about $30 million per day in lost revenue.