Action Alert: Call Your House Member and Ask Them to Support Clean FAA Extension

Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV), Ranking Democratic on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Congressman Jerry Costello (D-IL), Ranking Member on the Aviation Subcommittee, introduced a clean extension of the FAA’s operating authority today.

Please contact your House delegation and urge them to

1)    Support the Rahall/Costello extension and

2)    Contact House Republican Leadership and urge them to bring the bill up for a vote as soon as possible so we can put the FAA back in business and get money flowing again into the Aviation Trust Fund.

3)    Tell them about the impact the FAA Shutdown is having on your airport

Transportation Committee Democrats Introduce Clean Extension to End FAA Shutdown

Jul 26, 2011

—Rahall, Costello Call on House Republican Leadership to Schedule Immediate Vote to Stop Jeopardizing the Jobs of Nearly 90,000 American Construction Workers, End Furlough of 3,600 FAA Aviation Experts—

Washington, D.C.– Just one day after the U.S. Department of Transportation started issuing stop-work orders to airport construction companies across the country and House Republicans refused to convene a conference committee on the long-term Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) bill, every Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today joined together to introduce a short-term funding extension of the FAA that would end the current Republican-led shutdown and put thousands of workers back on the job.

“Instead of negotiating at gunpoint and forcing the Senate to adopt its ideological assault on the American worker, House Republican leaders should end their senseless shutdown of the FAA by bringing this clean extension to the floor for a vote today while a long-term FAA reauthorization is finalized,” said U.S. Representative Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), top Democrat on the Full Committee.  “Republicans should stop jeopardizing the jobs of nearly 90,000 American construction workers and penalizing the people who keep our skies safe by holding their job hostage to their “my way or the runway” approach.”

Pending enactment of a long-term FAA reauthorization bill, Congress has passed 20 short-term extension acts without controversial policy provisions since 2007 to extend the FAA’s authority to administer aviation programs.  Breaking with precedent, the 21st short-term extension that the House Republican leadership crafted and the House passed last week contained extraneous provisions that had not been agreed upon in advance.  Despite being warned that such provisions could not pass the Senate, Republican leaders chose to attach these provisions to a must-pass short-term funding extension and forced a partial FAA shutdown at a cost of $200 million per week in lost revenue.

“The Republicans should stop playing games with the livelihoods of nearly 4,000 furloughed FAA workers and the overall economy and pass this clean extension bill.  The adverse economic impacts of not funding the FAA are serious, as airport construction projects have stopped and thousands of construction workers are sitting at home,” said U.S. Representative Jerry Costello (D-IL), top Democrat on the House Aviation Subcommittee.  “Other FAA functions - such as certifying new aircraft - help maintain commerce and an efficient economy.   Without them economic activity slows or stops altogether, impeding our economic recovery.  The Republican approach is counter-productive; they should pass this clean extension, appoint conferees and negotiate a long-term FAA authorization bill.” 

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.

“Just hours after House Republicans on Friday played chicken with our Nation’s aviation system with their “my way or the runway” shotgun approach to negotiating, 3,600 aviation experts received furlough notices,” said Rahall.  “While pink slips have already gone out to airport construction crews from coast to coast, the House Republican leadership could minimize the destructive damage by ending their political games but yesterday they indicated they are unwilling to meet to resolve the differences.  Republicans should extend the FAA through the end of September and join Senator Jay Rockefeller at the bargaining table to reauthorize the FAA.”

The “Aviation Jobs and Safety Act of 2011” introduced today by Costello, Rahall, every Democrat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the Democratic leaders on the Ways and Means Committee is a clean FAA extension bill that would authorize the aviation programs through the end of Fiscal Year 2011 (September 30, 2011).  A clean extension is supported by a wide group of aviation organizations, including the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), Airports Council International (ACI), American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), California Airports Council (CAC), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), and Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS).

“The House Republicans have recklessly blown up FAA reauthorization negotiations, while needlessly putting Americans out of work,” said Rahall.  “They have not appointed conferees, they have not done the basic work to resolve the current impasse, and they seem to have no real plan to resolve it going forward other than continuing to inflict pain on working families until they get their way.”

The Republican-led FAA shutdown that began at midnight on Friday has already triggered stop work orders being issued to construction crews across the country. (Read full release here)