President Obama urged Congress to pass a "clean" Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) bill when Congress returns from its August recess next week. The President also urged passage of the surface transportation legislation which, like the FAA authorization, would help create jobs.
"Just a few weeks ago, Congress refused to act on another bill, typically a routine bill, that would have ended up pulling thousands of aviation workers off the job and delaying necessary airport improvement projects across the country. And when Congress finally got their act together, they only funded the FAA until September 16th," Obama said.
"That’s why, when they come back next month, not only do they need to pass the transportation bill but they've also got to pass a clean extension of that FAA bill -- for longer this time -- and address back pay for the workers who were laid off during the last shutdown," the President continued.
"So I’m calling on Congress, as soon as they come back, to pass a clean extension of the surface transportation bill, along with a clean extension of the FAA bill, to give workers and communities across America the confidence that vital construction projects won’t come to a halt," the President said.
The President said that at the end of September, if Congress doesn’t act, the transportation bill will expire. This bill provides funding for highway construction, bridge repair, mass transit systems and other projects.
"If we allow the transportation bill to expire, over 4,000 workers will be immediately furloughed without pay. If it’s delayed for just 10 days, it will lose nearly $1 billion in highway funding -- that's money we can never get back. And if it’s delayed even longer, almost one million workers could lose their jobs over the course of the next year, " Obama said.
Congressional disagreements over the FAA have resulted in temporary extensions of FAA funding - by one estimate 21 times. The July/August delay in funding of the FAA resulted in the furlough of an estimated 4,000 people and a partial FAA shutdown.