Shutdown Risks for the FAA on Sept. 30
Brothers and Sisters,
As we begin the final week of September, there are two risks of a shutdown for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The first would be a government-wide lapse in appropriations, which funds the government. The second would be a lapse in FAA authorization, which empowers the FAA to carry out its mission. Both expire at midnight on Saturday into Sunday unless this week lawmakers can reach agreements. Divisions among Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have derailed efforts to pass bipartisan appropriations bills to fund the government. NATCA is working around the clock to educate members of both the House and Senate on how a shutdown would negatively affect our members, their families, and the safety and efficiency of the National Airspace System.
National Office staff are working closely with the National Legislative Committee on these efforts. As of today, the U.S. Senate is preparing to move a Continuing Resolution (CR) to temporarily fund the government, which would include a short-term extension of FAA’s authorization. A significant number of Senators are working in a bipartisan manner to move this stopgap legislation to the floor, with the hope that they can eventually pass the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill, which passed out of committee unanimously, earlier this year. We have expressed our strong support for a stopgap measure to keep the government open and keep FAA programs running.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, there have been various CR proposals. None of these have been acceptable to NATCA, because they would significantly cut funding to all domestic agencies including the FAA requiring save-money furloughs.
NATCA has also been working with FAA to identify which employees will be excepted from an emergency shutdown furlough should there be a lapse in appropriations or FAA authorization.
The House already passed a five-year FAA Reauthorization bill by an overwhelming majority. It included NATCA’s top priorities, including implementation of the Collaborative Resources Workgroup CPC staffing targets and maximum hiring of ATC trainees for five years. The Senate’s FAA Reauthorization bill has several contentious issues being negotiated by leadership, none of which involve NATCA’s priorities.
As we continue our efforts, we hope that members of Congress will put governing ahead of politics and pass both a CR and an FAA extension before the end of the month. Both a government-wide shutdown or a shutdown of the FAA would be devastating to our members, the American public, and economic growth. If a shutdown occurs, we will ask for everyone in the NATCA family to participate in an all-hands effort to make our voices heard to push Congress to end it.
We will keep you updated throughout the week.