Rockefeller, Cantwell, Senate Dems Propose Bill to Help Families of Furloughed FAA Workers

July 27, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV announced today that he is introducing a bill to provide back pay for nearly 4,000 FAA workers who have been furloughed and are not getting a pay check after the House refused to vote on a clean funding extension that would have kept the agency open. The bill would allow these employees to continue working with pay and benefits as Congress works to achieve a full FAA extension and would be paid for from the Aviation Trust Fund.  Joining Rockefeller was Senator Maria Cantwell, Chairwoman of the Aviation Subcommittee.

“Because of House Republican politics, the FAA was partially shut down over the weekend.  Four thousand FAA workers across the country will not be paid or reimbursed if we are unable to immediately agree on a clean extension of FAA to get it fully up and running,” Senator Rockefeller said.  “This is a travesty and our workers deserve better.  That is why I have introduced a bill to provide the FAA with the authority to pay these employees and maintain their benefits.  This will allow the agency to end the furlough and put them in the best position for when we achieve a full FAA extension.  I hope we will have the full support of the Senate for this bill, so we can keep the FAA workforce whole and our aviation system fully operational.”

“This bill will hold harmless thousands of aviation workers who have been caught in the crossfire of the House leaders’ decision to play politics,” Senator Cantwell said.  “More than two hundred Washington state workers are currently furloughed and going without pay.  Several airports across the state are bracing for the delay or shutdown of major construction projects that will harm Main Street businesses and put more Americans out of work.  We need a clean, short-term FAA extension while we continue to work toward a long-term authorization bill.”

Their bill, the Federal Aviation Employees Protection Act of 2011, is co-sponsored by Senators Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).