Congress Takes Action on Air Traffic Control Furloughs

Following action taken by the U.S. Senate, the House of Representatives approved and sent legislation to President Barack Obama on Friday, April 26, to relieve Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Control furloughs as a result of budget sequestration. The president is expected to sign the bill, which gives the FAA transfer authority for $253 million until October to relieve staffing challenges that has created airport delays for thousands of travelers in the past week. The move also gives the FAA the funding and flexibility needed to keep air traffic controllers at work and contract air traffic control towers open.

The Senate passed its version of the Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013 on Thursday, April 25. Once signed into law by the president, the legislation will take effect immediately through Sept. 30, which marks the end of the government’s fiscal year 2013.

The FAA’s controller-staffing reductions began April 21 and have been blamed for significant travel delays across the country. According to the FAA, the furloughs and tower closures were needed to comply with sequestration, or mandatory spending cuts required under deficit-reduction legislation passed by Congress last year.