House Republicans left DC for the August District Work Period on Monday night abandoning 4,000 furloughed workers and tens of thousands of private sector workers affected by the Republican-forced Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shutdown.
While they claim to be fiscally responsible, House Republicans don’t seem to mind costing Americans $30 million a day–or more than $1 billion this month–as the shutdown continues. As Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) writes in a letter to Speaker Boehner and GOP Leader Cantor, the logic is mystifying:
As you both frequently comment that the government needs to be run more like the private sector, I would ask that you please identify a corporation anywhere that would forgo more than $1 billion in revenue and imperil the livelihoods of thousands of its employees in order to save $16.5 million. The math simply does not work. I would be interested to learn if there is CEO in America who would choose five weeks of vacation over 24 hours of work to address a vital component of his company’s infrastructure.
At the height of the summer travel season and construction season, and with more than 1.3 million construction workers out of work, it is inexcusable that the majority would adjourn the House of Representatives with so many American jobs in jeopardy.
This shutdown is unnecessary and it can be fixed immediately, as Leader Pelosi explains, by passing a clean short-term extension by unanimous consent (UC):
It was wrong for Congress to leave Washington with tens of thousands of people out of work because the FAA issue remains unresolved. Unless Congress acts swiftly, the economy will be needlessly damaged and thousands of families will endure unnecessary hardship.
Speaker Boehner should call on the committee leadership to produce legislation that can be approved by unanimous consent by the end of the week.
Tens of thousands of American jobs are on the line. Republicans must end their tactics of obstruction and delay, address this crisis, and get people back to work.
Leader Reid, in a letter to Speaker Boehner this afternoon, also stands ready “to pass a clean extension immediately“:
With both the House and Senate in pro-forma session over the next month, we can immediately resolve the impasse over the Federal Aviation Administration, and put back to work the more than 74,000 Americans who have been furloughed. I stand ready to work with you to pass a clean extension of the FAA’s current programs, while we resolve our differences.
There is bipartisan support for this position. My colleague, Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said it best on the Senate floor yesterday: “We should not shut down the FAA because of a rider put on the extension of the FAA legislation that has not been negotiated. It is not honorable for the House to send an extraneous amendment.”
We cannot afford to delay any longer. I am ready to work with you to pass a clean extension immediately.
So to recap–House and Senate Democrats stand ready to pass a clean short-term extension to get the FAA running while Republicans have taken off for the August break without passing a single piece of legislation to create jobs despite being in the majority for more than 200 days, have actually voted to destroy nearly 2 million jobs, and now leave tens of thousands of Americans without paychecks thanks to their FAA shutdown. America’s top priority remains job creation but it’s clear, once again, that the same cannot be said for the GOP.
Congressman Nick J. Rahall, Ranking Member on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Congressman Jerry Costello, Aviation Subcommittee Ranking Member, on Republicans’ forced shutdown of the FAA»
UPDATE: On August 4th, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced an agreement on a short-term extension of the Federal Aviation Administration which was passed by the Senate by UC and signed into law by President Obama on August 5th, ending the partial shutdown of the agency and putting 74,000 transportation and construction workers back on the job. Leader Pelosi:
Today’s announcement is good news for American workers. The agreement means tens of thousands of people can return to their jobs, support their families, and strengthen our airports, our infrastructure, and our economy.
With the immediate crisis behind us, Democrats are calling for passengers charged federal taxes for travel scheduled during the shutdown or forced to pay higher fares by certain airlines to receive refunds for these unnecessary ticket costs.
Republicans must now return to the negotiating table to work toward a long-term FAA reauthorization that creates jobs, spurs growth, and respects workers’ rights. Democrats will stand strong on behalf of working families and our middle class against Republicans’ attempt to use this legislation as an excuse to intensify their assault on organized labor and hard-working Americans.
Moving forward, Republicans must end their stalling tactics, abandon their attack on workers, and join Democrats to focus on the American people’s top priority: job creation.