[Archive Home][Date Prev][Date Next][Index]
"White House explores options on FAA shutdown"
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
White House explores options on FAA shutdown
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Wednesday it was looking at
ways to end a partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration that
has halted airport construction projects employing thousands of people and
extended the summer's political battles.
But transportation experts said the Obama administration has little room to
maneuver, and instead officials pressured Congress for emergency action to
break a deadlock that has held up full funding of the FAA for 12 days so
Obama said he had called key congressional leaders and a White House
official confirmed one call was to House Speaker John Boehner.
"I'm urging them to get this done," Obama said in remarks before a Cabinet
It was unclear whether Obama's discussions had any impact on the partisan
standoff mainly over demands by the Republican-led House that Congress cut
certain heavy subsidies for airlines that operate flights to underserved
Obama spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that the White House was looking
at steps that it could take to end the shutdown affecting more than 74,000
airport-related construction jobs and certain FAA personnel.
Lawmakers left town this week for their summer recess with the matter in
limbo and are not due back until early September. The Obama administration
said, however, that certain procedures would permit emergency action without
bringing lawmakers back to Washington.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman, said
such action was not likely although he did not dismiss it entirely.
"They can still do it," LaHood said.
The shutdown has added to acrimony that has defined Washington during the
summer's political brawl over raising the U.S. debt ceiling.
Reid, in a letter to Boehner, said there was room for compromise on the FAA
later but that it was "not honorable for the House" to attach the subsidy
rider to what otherwise was a routine funding extension. Similar short-term
budget extensions for the FAA had passed 20 times previously.
Boehner said in a statement that the House had "done its job" and the burden
was on the Senate to act.
The administration's hands were mostly tied over the funding quagmire, and
would find it difficult to take the kind of money at stake in the shutdown
-- $360 million so far -- from one agency budget source and apply it to FAA
Further angering Obama and his administration is the decision by airlines to
capitalize on the congressional inaction to legally not collect ticket
taxes, and raise fares by a commensurate amount.
The windfall totaled more than $360 million so far and could top $1.2
billion if the standoff lasts until Congress returns in September.
"And we don't anticipate it's going to be easy to get that money back,"
Obama said, "Even though the airlines are collecting it, they're keeping
The trade group representing Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, US Airways
and Southwest Airlines say carriers are justified in boosting revenue to try
to cover costs, which they cannot do now.
Do you have an opinion about this story?
Share it with other readers in our CAA Discussion Forums
Fair Use Notice
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
If you have any queries regarding this issue, please Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org