From the Desk of NATCA President Rich Santa: Potential Shutdown Update
This week, we once again face the risk of a government shutdown. Unless Congress acts quickly to avert this pending shutdown, federal appropriations will lapse at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18. The resulting lapse of appropriations would affect NATCA members, as well as the government’s other more than 3 million civilian and military employees.
A government-wide shutdown would be devastating. NATCA National Office staff have been working closely with the National Legislative Committee 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.
NATCA has expressed our strong support for a stopgap measure that would keep the government open and keep FAA programs running. As of today, House Republicans have been meeting to discuss several options in advancing a stopgap spending bill. Some of their proposals would include provisions that would have no prospect of passing in the U.S. Senate. Members of the U.S. Senate have indicated that they want a clean CR, meaning that no policy riders would be attached other than funding international defense aid.
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.
On top of these negotiations regarding federal appropriations, we also face a lapse of authorization for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at the end of the year. 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.
NATCA will continue working diligently to communicate the interests of our members to members of Congress. We hope that they will put governing ahead of politics and pass either a full year appropriations bill covering the FAA or a CR and an FAA reauthorization in a timely manner.
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 as these efforts continue.