GOP Sen. Hutchison Slams Own Party Over FAA Shutdown: ‘It’s Not Honorable’

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"GOP Sen. Hutchison Slams Own Party Over FAA Shutdown: ‘It’s Not Honorable’"

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)

Last night, the House went off for summer recess without reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which has been shut down for days now due to lack of funding. The House’s action means that the FAA will remain shut down for at least another month, leaving 4,000 federal employees furloughed, tens of thousands of workers stuck on stalled construction projects, and hundreds of millions of dollars in federal airline taxes uncollected. Airport inspectors are currently working without pay.

The FAA is the victim in the GOP’s assault on organized labor, as House Republicans are insisting that any FAA reauthorization include a provision making it harder for workers at airlines and railways to unionize. However, the House GOP’s intransigence doesn’t extend to all Republicans. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) yesterday criticized her party’s stance, saying “it’s not honorable” to hold up the FAA over unrelated policy disputes:

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, breaking with her party, called on Congress to pass a temporary extension that was devoid of any complicating policy issues.

“We’re getting ready to leave for a month. We should not shut down the FAA because of a rider put on the extension of the FAA legislation that has not been negotiated,” Hutchison said.

“It is not honorable for the House to send an extraneous amendment” on a funding extension, she said.

House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL), in a fit of spite, attached extra cuts to rural airports (in mostly Democratic states) to his version of the bill, which he admitted was merely meant to tweak Democratic senators for not going along with the GOP’s union busting. If the FAA shutdown continues for another month, it will cost the government about $1.2 billion. But for the GOP, that seems to be an acceptable price for advancing an anti-union agenda.

Last night, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) attempted to pass a clean FAA reauthorization through the Senate by unanimous consent. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) objected.

Update

Hutchison took to the Senate floor today to plead her case for a “clean” FAA bill. However, she said she supports Republicans’ anti-union agenda on the issues, but that it should be done through the proper procedure. Watch a video of her floor speech released by Senate Democrats:

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