Why Did Republicans Shut Down the FAA?Posted: July 26, 2011
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.
…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.