The Federal Aviation Administration will shut down at midnight after GOP senators refused to let go of an anti-union provision amending the National Mediation Board’s union voting rules. Speaking of the matter, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) lambasted his colleague Sen. Orinn Hatch (R-UT) on the Senate floor over the political manuevering, saying that Hatch is only presenting “one side of a story”:
We’re going to lay off 4,000 people at midnight tonight. Do you think that means anything to them? What I offered was a clean extension that didn’t get into the merits of this, which said let’s put this big debate aside and that debate aside and keep the agency working, the federal aviation administration. [Hatch] said, ‘No, you either take the Republican approach or else.’
And incidentally, he told you at the outset, the House Republicans have gone home. They’re gone. They sent this over and said, ‘Take it or leave it or close it down.’ That’s not a very sound choice for our country.
As a result of Congress’ failure to pass any sort of long-term funding deal for the FAA, around $2.5 billion worth of airport construction will cease and airlines will have to stop collecting around $200 million a week in ticket taxes. The up to 4,000 furloughed employees will include engineers, administrative assistants and computer specialists, but air traffic controllers will stay on duty. — Sarah Bufkin