Two House lawmakers proposed legislation on Friday which could ensure federal aviation personnel such as air traffic controllers as well as airline safety inspectors could be paid in a government shutdown, as another funding deadline looms next week.
The proposal came two weeks after a shortage of air traffic controllers, who were working unpaid during the partial government shutdown last month, delayed flights throughout the eastern U.S. Lawmakers as well as the Trump administration reached a deal to temporarily fund the government shortly after the air travel disruption.
Lawmakers right now have until Feb. 15 to come up using a border security deal or risk another shutdown. The aviation industry had been among the most vocal against the 35-day shutdown, the longest ever, as passengers faced long lines at some of the country’s busiest airports due to absences of unpaid Transportation Security Administration screeners. Airlines also faced approval delays for brand-new routes as well as aircraft because federal safety inspectors were furloughed.
The bill was introduced by Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat as well as chairman of the House Committee on Transportation as well as Infrastructure, as well as the aviation subcommittee chair, Rick Larsen, a Democrat coming from Washington. which proposes using a special fund to continue to pay FAA personnel, including the country’s roughly 14,000 air traffic controllers.
The funding wouldn’t apply to TSA officers because they work under the Department of Homeland Security, not the FAA.
Using the Airport as well as Airway Trust Fund, which is actually fed by taxes coming from airline tickets, jet fuel as well as cargo, could “ensure essential personnel who work under immensely stressful situations continue to get paid, as well as which the largest, busiest as well as most complex airspace system within the earth remains safe for passengers as well as employees,” Larsen said in a statement.
Paul Rinaldi, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the union which represents air traffic controllers, supported the bill. He said which controllers “experienced financial stress due to a lack of income, which led to distractions as well as significant fatigue for people who need to be 100 percent focused on safety.”
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