According to the Associated Press,
The Federal Aviation Administration is hours away from a partial shutdown that will put nearly 4,000 people out of work temporarily.Congress left town this afternoon before voting on a bill to extend funding for the FAA. Airplanes will continue to fly, as air traffic controllers and safety inspectors will stay on the job because of the peculiarities of the way the agency is funded. But engineers and planners, for example, would be furloughed.
The failure to pass a bill means the FAA can't collect passenger taxes, so airline tickets will be slightly cheaper -- for a while. But Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat and chairman of the Senate committee that overseas the FAA, said the agency
...estimates that it could only operate air traffic and support services through mid-August.
This would mean services to smaller areas like mine -- West Virginia -- would need to draw down in the near term so that the FAA can focus on primary traffic. That's not something we would look forward to.A big reason for the impasse is that House negotiators (including another Wisconsin Republican, Rep. Tom Petri) insist on making it harder for railroad and airline workers to join unions.
We thought they were just trying to destroy the middle class. Now we're starting to think they want to destroy the country.