Congress Ends FAA Furloughs
WASHINGTON, DC (WENY) -- Nearly two months into sequestration, and the public is finally starting to feel the impact of the cuts. This week, delays were reported at airports across the country. But now, there should be some relief on the way.
The House voted 361-41 today to end furloughs for about 15,000 FAA air traffic controllers and prevent 150 control towers from closing. The bill passed in the Senate yesterday.
Democratic Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania says our nation's airports are a lifeline, especially for small communities. Casey says if delays were to continue, they would have had a negative impact on commerce and the economy. He says this bill is a step in the right direction.
"Nothing about sequestration is good. And we have to, not only in this context, but in other contexts as well, begin the process of a bipartisan agreement to reverse it and to come up with an agreement that doesn't have the arbitrary and indiscriminate impact that sequestration does," said Sen. Casey.
Republicans, meanwhile, say President Obama has the power to direct the Federal Aviation Administration to ease the impact of the furloughs -- and that he's putting politics over passengers.
"The worst part is this could have all been prevented. And it should have been prevented, and it would have been prevented if we would have all worked together to replace the sequester. But, now, we need to look forward to solve this problem and it's time for these delays to end," said Republican Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington.
So there's still a divide over sequestration as a whole, but for now, a bipartisan show of support for avoid airport delays. This bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.
The vote also restores funding for 149 air traffic control towers slated to close, including the tower at Ithaca-Tompkins Regional Airport.