11th hour reprieve for the US FAA

In a last-minute compromise, it appears that the US Senate will pass a bill granting an extension to FAA funding through 16 September. This will allow some 4,000 FAA employees to go back to work, and will allow a restart of stalled airport construction projects. The move follows two weeks in which the FAA was shut down except for essential services because US politicians were unwilling to cede any ground in a long-running partisan dispute.

 

According reports breaking in the media late today, a handful of Senators will stay in Washington, despite Congress having been adjourned, and vote unanimously tomorrow (Friday) to pass the House version of the funding-extension bill. The Democratic-controlled Senate had earlier refused to pass the House version because it contained a rider that would cut subsidies  to rural airports (all in Democratic-leaning constituencies), but has reportedly now agreed to pass it unchanged, on the understanding that once it is signed into law by President Obama, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will issue waivers to the affected airports, allowing them to keep their funding through 16 September.

 

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