T&I Committee has moved a bill to fund FAA during shutdown
“Furloughing” UNessential employees is deleterious to agency moral
Aviation Safety civil servants not paid while Congress DAWDLES
It is coming again—the threat of another government shutdown. Congress has learned to use the cliff of the Executive Branch without funding to force solutions unpalatable to their opponents. The impact of these fiscal crises hits the FAA operationally every time; someone has to decide who is to be considered to be “essential” to the safety mission.
Safety is a business of judgments, and assessing among 50.000 career employees, as to who meets this vague test, requires a degree of omniscience not ordinarily given to any human. An error in deciding could impact the general public. Long term consequences of telling a hard-working civil servants that she or he is not critical to the FAA’s work is a dispirited staffer and also infects those who are required to work without pay..
Two years ago, the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee introduced a perfectly sensible solution. H.R. 4042: Aviation Funding Stability Act of 2021 is in the first stage of the legislative process. It was introduced into Congress on June 22, 2021. It will typically be considered by committee next before it is possibly sent on to the House or Senate as a whole. Bipartisan support is demonstrated by 42 Cosponsors (33 Democrats, 9 Republicans). The hearing witnesses were unanimous in their support for the bill. The list of aviation organizations which support this solution to shutdowns (at the end of this post) is impressive in these days of general disagreement.
There is NO WAY that HR 4042 will pass before the end of FY 2021 and hopefully the Congress will find a solution to the impasse. Then, Chairman DeFazio and Ranking Minority Graves should use this crisis to remind their colleagues that the FAA is in the SAFETY BUSINESS and brinksmanship on its budget puts their citizens at risk.
Senate GOP blocks bill that would fund government and suspend debt limit, as time runs short to avoid shutdown and default
…Lawmakers need to approve government funding before Friday to avoid a shutdown. The U.S. risks default if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling by a point that is likely to come in October, according to the Treasury Department…
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee leaders have reintroduced a measure to shield the FAA from the effects of federal government shutdowns. Offered by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon), aviation subcommittee chairman Rick Larsen (D-Washington), and Reps. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania), the Aviation Funding Stability Act of 2021 would enable the FAA to continue to draw from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF) and maintain operations for up to 30 days without congressional action should the federal government shut down due to a budget lapse.
This would protect FAA programs and personnel, the bill managers say, avoiding a situation like the one resulting from the 2018/2019 federal government shutdown, which led to the furlough of about 17,000 agency employees, accounting for approximately 40 percent of the agency. Meanwhile, the remaining employees, including air traffic controllers, continued to work without pay. DeFazio and Larsen first introduced legislation to protect that from happening again in early 2019, shortly after the historic 35-day shutdown ended.
The latest bill has garnered endorsements from more than 30 aviation organizations and unions, including most of the major associations. Lawmakers call the legislation necessary for protecting public safety.
“The U.S. has the safest and most efficient aviation system in the entire world,” DeFazio said in introducing the legislation. “The system contributes trillions of dollars to our national economy and supports millions of American jobs. We can’t allow for everything to be thrown into chaos in the event of a federal government shutdown. Our bipartisan bill will ensure that the FAA can keep operating without interruption, which is essential to protecting public safety and the livelihoods of aviation workers who keep our country and economy moving.”
Added Larsen: “Enabling the FAA to draw from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund during a funding lapse ensures essential personnel who work under stressful situations continue to get paid, and the largest, busiest and most complex airspace system in the world remains safe and functional for air passengers and crew.”
31 Current Legislation Endorsements:
- Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA)
- Air Medical Operators Association (AMOA)
- Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA)
- Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)
- Airlines for America (A4A)
- Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA)
- Allied Pilots Association (APA)
- American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE)
- Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA)
- Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA)
- Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI)
- Cargo Airline Association (CAA)
- Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA)
- General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA)
- Helicopter Association International (HAI)
- International Air Transport Association (IATA)
- International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM)
- International Brotherhood of Teamsters
- National Air Carrier Association (NACA)
- National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA)
- National Air Transportation Association (NATA)
- National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO)
- National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)
- National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)
- NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP)
- Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (PASS)
- Regional Airline Association (RAA)
- Small UAV Coalition
- Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA)
- Transport Workers Union of America (TWU)
- Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD)
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