U.S. aviation shutdown likely through August: LaHood

WASHINGTON Wed Aug 3, 2011 10:43am EDT

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood speaks during the daily media briefing at the White House in Washington July 28, 2011. REUTERS/Larry Downing

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood speaks during the daily media briefing at the White House in Washington July 28, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Only congressional action can end a partial shutdown of U.S. federal aviation programs that has suspended hundreds of airport construction projects, but that is unlikely with both chambers out until next month, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said on Wednesday.

LaHood dashed the long-shot possibility raised by one lawmaker that the fight over funding for the Federal Aviation Administration could be resolved later in the week under a congressional procedure that does not require lawmakers to cast votes in person. The step, called unanimous consent, would be rare with Congress out of town.

"(It's) not a possibility because we were told the Speaker of the House would not allow to happen and you'd have to have unanimous consent in both houses," LaHood said on C-SPAN.

The FAA has issued stop-work orders for 241 airport construction projects worth nearly $11 billion in the shutdown, which entered its 12th day on Wednesday.

Nearly 4,000 FAA employees have been furloughed and the Obama administration has said the suspension threatens 70,000 jobs related to construction.

Disagreement over proposed cuts to rural air service and a simmering argument over a labor issue prevented the Senate from acting on Tuesday on a temporary FAA funding extension before lawmakers left for their August recess.

LaHood said only an act of Congress would end the shutdown and he would spend August working to persuade lawmakers to pass an extension immediately when they return in early September.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert, Doug Palmer and John Crawley; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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Comments (5)
Another extortion by radicals in the house. This time holding air passengers safety hostage until the senate and President agree to make it harder for FAA workers to collectively bargin.

Repubs have figured out how to pass their favored legislation, finally after all these years. Just use a “must pass” bill and add unrelated riders of issues they hadn’t been able to force on the public in previous attempts. It works now because the teahadists really would crash the world economy and destroy American authority/crediblity to make it easier for the rich to exploit the rest.

Can majority rule ever return to the U.S. congress?

Aug 03, 2011 11:22am EDT  --  Report as abuse
nosmtrthanu wrote:
oh gee! how sweet of the just say no group to put “up to” 70,000 people on the unemployment rolls. that’s just what we need. and of course they’ll be able to claim that the current administration is to blame for the increase in people seeking unemployment.
way to go, teabaggers! keep drinking that stuff.

Aug 03, 2011 11:41am EDT  --  Report as abuse
iflydaplanes wrote:
@reggiewhitefish, the “shutdown” is of non-essential airport projects and the like. Passenger safety and safety programs effecting industry operations will remain in place. No need for such a radical reaction.

Aug 03, 2011 1:20pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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