Why Did Republicans Shut Down the FAA?

Somehow I missed this story on Saturday, what with all the other horrors that have been in the news lately. House Republicans have shut down the Federal Aviation Administration, costing taxpayers millions in uncollected taxes and putting 4,000 people out of work immediately, with 90,000 jobs in jeopardy.

From the AFL-CIO Now Blog

…House Republicans refused to pass a funding authorization bill, money for airport improvements has dried up and construction workers at many airports have been sent home.

Republicans grounded the FAA because they want to take away Democratic union elections for of aviation and rail workers.

Congress could have passed temporary spending authority for the FAA, as it has 20 times in the past without controversy. But like their tactics on debt ceiling negotiations, Republicans are demanding their way at any cost.

Not only is the FAA shutdown costing jobs, but it’s costing the federal government $200 million a week in uncollected airline ticket fees. That lost revenue is added to the national debt Republicans claim they are so concerned about. On top of that, instead of reducing ticket prices, the airlines are pocketing the fees.

The shutdown is putting construction projects on hold all over the country. In the San Francisco bay area, for example,

About 60 employees of Devcon Construction were set to show up at Oakland International Airport on Monday to continue working on the airport’s brand-new air traffic control tower.

That is, until they were told not to, until further notice. “We were informed Friday to stop all construction activity,” said Dan Anello, a project manager at the Milpitas-based company.

That was when, the House, in its infinite wisdom, refused to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration’s operating authority, resulting in the partial shutdown of the agency, the halting of funds for dozens of similar projects nationwide, and further additions to the nation’s unemployment rolls.

If you Google, you’ll find lots of similar stories. According to the Washington Post, the shutdown is not going to end anytime soon.

Though planes continued to fly unhindered nationwide, a dispute about service to a handful of tiny airports crippled Federal Aviation Administration operations for the third day Monday, costing the agency an estimated $30 million a day.

With House Republicans and Senate Democrats apparently in locked positions, and compromise an elusive pursuit on Capitol Hill this month, no one was ready to predict when funding might be restored to the federal agency.

“Don’t hold your breath,” advised one Senate staff member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

the $30 million per day is from lost tax revenues.

The Christian Science Monitor confirms that the dispute involves Republican efforts to hinder union organizing.

Democrats said the real issue is that Republicans are insisting Democrats accept a host of controversial provisions added to a long-term FAA spending bill approved by the House in April. Among their key differences is a GOP proposal sought by industry that would make it more difficult for airline workers to unionize.

The Senate passed its own long-term funding bill in February without the labor provision. Democrats insist the House must drop the provision. They’ve also accused Republicans of tying the elimination of rural air subsidies to their extension bill as a means to prod Democrats to make concessions on the labor issue.

The transformation of the U.S. into a third world country through the Shock Doctrine is certainly moving rapidly these days. The shocks are coming so quickly you barely have time to catch your breath before the next one hits.

27 Comments on “Why Did Republicans Shut Down the FAA?”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Media Repeats Republican Lies about FAA Shutdown (Warning: Orange place)

    Republicans are apparently insisting that the shutdown is about subsidies for rural airports. Democrats just want to continue providing these wasteful subsidies, blah blah blah. The AP reports it as “Republicans say this, Democrats say that,” which is bad enough, but the Washington Post buys it wholesale. An article there attributes the shutdown entirely to the rural airports.

    But what the Washington Post either genuinely does not realize or is willing to go along with Republicans in pretending that it does not know is that Republicans are threatening these rural airports in order to get their way on the real issue: union rights for airline workers. Republicans want to go back to an old system in which if you are eligible to vote in a union representation election and you do not vote, you are counted as a no vote. It’s a blatantly antidemocratic system, and it’s what this shutdown is about. Rural airports subsidies are one more tool to try to win that issue, and it’s not just me saying so:

    The House added the EAS [rural airports] policy riders as a way to extract concessions on the NMB [union rights] provisions, according to Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, who also spoke at the conference.
    “It’s just a tool to try to motivate some action to get this resolved,” Mica says, adding that the NMB issue is being moved “at the highest leadership levels of the House and Senate and beyond my ability to resolve.”

    If the NMB provision were resolved, “the rest can fall into place within 20 minutes,” Mica says.

  2. Gregory says:

    My goodness. There is just no low they won’t go to. These people are actually scheming to deprive American’s of their lives and livelihoods and only because our government is filled with blind ideology slaves. I cannot believe the havoc that Boehner and his Republican cronies are causing. I can’t believe that wealthy business owners are actually supporting these kinds of measures. Shutting down the FAA is as genuinely anti-business as it gets. They are taking dynamite to the house and blowing it up. Can someone please whisper in their ear that we had a good thing going here?

  3. Woman Voter says:

    BB, find out which GOP congressman got cited by FAA and was threatening to cut
    Cut ttheir power/ authority after he nearly killed workers by landing on a closed Texas runway with his plane.

    • bostonboomer says:

      That was Senator James Inhofe, but I’m not aware he threatened to cut FAA funding. This dispute about the FAA is in the House.


      • WomanVoter says:

        He threatened to take away their SUPER POWER of AUTHORITY, for citing him, after he used a CLOSED Texas runway causing workers (fixing the runway) to scatter for their lives… I tell ya, these congress critters just treat workers like ‘those little’ people, then get upset for being cited. Shoot they should have revoked his license if he can’t tell the difference and can’t use the right runway.

        The Worst Pilot in the World – Idiot james inhofe – July 8, 2011

      • northwestrain says:

        Un-fricking believable.

        Political theater.

        Has the 2012 campaign already started?

  4. Delphyne says:

    Sometimes I think we need a coup in this country. What is it going to take to get our representatives to make a lot of noise for the benefit of the citizens of this country? It’s like they’ve been taken over by pod people. The control of the media has got to be broken so that the people can get reliable news, not this crap that they try to sell as news. The corporations have got to be reigned in. The lobbyists need to be muzzled and locked out of Washington. People need to wake up and get mad. Like pitchforks and torches mad.

    I will curse the DNC ’til I die for what they did in 2008 to rob us of a real President and pushing Obama on us all. We have no democracy in our republic. It’s enough to make this grown woman weep.

  5. joanelle says:

    When I was just a little child my mom told me never to lie because it’s wrong and besides when people lie they end up having to lie again to cover the first one, etc. etc.

    Mom was right – our government is a perfect teaching tool for children of today – they have built this mess on lie after lie after lie. It’s utterly disgusting. Bernie Sanders seems to be the only adult among them.

  6. jawbone says:

    Bless you, BB. I’d been meaning to dig into this issue, and, viola!, you’ve done it for Sky Dancing readers. Nice depth, good research. T/U!

  7. dakinikat says:

    aterkel aterkel
    FAA furlough stretches into fourth day. Unions may be filing unfair labor practices suit/grievances against gov’t. http://huff.to/nHvbwl

  8. dakinikat says:

    Megachurch pastor Rick Warren’s tweet appears to criticize Obama’s insistence that rich should pay more taxes: http://politi.co/n1NYnw

    • WomanVoter says:

      Don’t ya just love those millionaire preachers, who claim Jesus came for the ‘special ones’ the Millionaires… Shameful…

      • dakinikat says:

        The Cult That Is Destroying America http://nyti.ms/p2Ou2M

        The reality, of course, is that we already have a centrist president — actually a moderate conservative president. Once again, health reform — his only major change to government — was modeled on Republican plans, indeed plans coming from the Heritage Foundation. And everything else — including the wrongheaded emphasis on austerity in the face of high unemployment — is according to the conservative playbook.

        What all this means is that there is no penalty for extremism; no way for most voters, who get their information on the fly rather than doing careful study of the issues, to understand what’s really going on.

        That’s Paulzilla btw

      • WomanVoter says:

        I read that, thanks as I don’t…well, you know examine the big ‘economic’ articles, I cheat and wait for you. :blush:

    • WomanVoter says:

      ‘HALF of America pays NO taxes. Zero,’ Rick Warren

      This guy needs to run payroll and have his eyes opened, but I fear he is acting as an agent of the Millionaires and Billionaires and not for Jesus. This BS of Jesus wants them in million dollar homes and riding in limos, all while doing the Tax deductions for the hoo haa while workers making 8.25 and 12.00 dollars are paying taxes is wrong. They are doing class warfare and know darn well these workers don’t have the tools to defend themselves from this crap…crap from someone (preacher) ‘claiming’ to be doing God’s work.