Power Breakfast: FAA employees victims of DC stalemate, back-to-school spending, Georgia Power, airport to avoid

Can Washington do anything these days?

More than 330 Federal Aviation Administration employees in metro Atlanta are victims of another political stalemate there, AJC reporter Kelly Yamanouchi writes. They were furloughed amid a Congressional showdown over part of the agency’s funding.

With Congress now out of session, it could be at least another month before they get back to work, Yamanouchi reports.

The partial FAA shutdown — initially obscured by the raging debt ceiling debate — doesn’t affect travel. Work continues on major projects such as the new international terminal at the Atlanta airport, run primarily by the city, Yamanouchi writes.

But it has put 4,000 FAA workers nationwide out of work, including many engineers who work on planning, environmental issues and grants — functions not critical to day-to-day aviation safety but necessary for future upgrades and improvements to the air travel system, Yamanouchi reports.

More than 200 projects are on hold around the nation, idling an estimated 70,000 workers involved in construction or related tasks, Yamanouchi writes.

Air traffic controllers are still on the job, as are safety inspectors who check aircraft.

Also in the AJC:

In other media:

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

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6 comments Add your comment

Obama

August 4th, 2011
7:02 am

It is all the Republicans’ fault. I can do no wrong.

Logic 05

August 4th, 2011
7:09 am

It is the Democrats fault. Just read Jamie Dupree’s blog below. Apparently, the Democrats are more interested in subsidies to certain small airports in the home states of key Democratic Senators…

Democrats in Washington, D.C. expressed frustration on Tuesday with news coverage of the ongoing impasse at the Federal Aviation Administration, as Senators and the White House all but demanded that reporters write more critical stories of Republicans.

“The party that created this problem is out of town, and reporters are blaming the party that wants the problem fixed,” groused White House Press Secretary Jay Carney at his daily news briefing.

On Capitol Hill, Democrats also seemed frustrated that their calls for Republicans to quickly approve a “clean” FAA authorization bill did not seem to be moving the story more against the GOP, as several Senators sparred with reporters in a late morning news conference.

“There’s a certain naivete that comes with your question,” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said dismissively to Jon Karl of ABC News, who had asked why Senate Democrats would not just accept the House FAA bill – with some reductions in subsidies for small airports – and thus get 4,000 FAA workers and more back on the job.

“This is a subterfuge,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, arguing that what Republicans are really doing is pressing for a rules change dealing with labor unions and airlines – even though that provision is not in the House FAA bill at issue now.

“That’s what this is all about. And the sooner you folks focus on it, the better off you are,” Reid said in an annoyed tone.

Earlier, the Senate Majority Leader had complained directly to reporters that the press corps should be characterizing Republican actions on this FAA bill in a more negative light, and not just report on the debate at hand.

“What you have done is say ‘well, he said, she said,’” as Reid repeatedly urged the press to focus on the labor issue, and not the particulars of cuts to the Essential Air Service.

“The essence of your question doesn’t understand that,” added Boxer, as she took her own jab at my colleagues. “You’ve got to dig a little bit behind the surface here of what this is really about.”

“This is about government by threats,” added Boxer, accusing the GOP of making unrealistic legislative demands.

“And these folks are falling for it,” said Reid, referring to my colleagues in the Capitol Hill press corps.

That prompted a big rumble in the room, as more reporters began shouting out questions at Democrats, who leveled one more jab at the news media.

“It’s as if someone puts a gun to your head and says ‘Give me your money,’” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY).

“And then you (reporters) say, ‘Why won’t you give them their money?’”

“You leave out the whole context that there’s being a gun held to your head,” Schumer complained. “It’s just not fair and not right and not even handed.”

“They objected to the clean extension (of the FAA bill), why don’t you report that?” demanded Sen. Boxer.

“They are absolutely right,” Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said of his colleagues and their complaints about the press, as he asked reporters “Why are you not angry” about the GOP moves on this bill.

“We won’t do what they tell us to do,” said Hoyer. “We cannot run America or a democracy that way; that’s the issue.”

As reporters clamored to ask more questions, Hoyer, Reid, Schumer and Boxer all suddenly rushed from the press conference, a jarring scene that left Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) behind to answer a final few questions about why subsidies should continue for airports from his state.

Both sides are right – if the other would just give in – this standoff would be solved.

But as with most things in life, either there will have to be a deal, or one side will have to let the other win.

In the meantime, 4,000 FAA workers remain off the job, thousands of construction jobs at airports funded by federal dollars are on hold and $30 million per day is being lost in airline ticket tax revenues.

“All it will take to end this crisis is for the Senate to pass the House-approved FAA extension,” said Speaker John Boehner in a written statement.

If nothing changes, this dispute could last into September, as the Congress is on recess until after Labor Day.

Tamika

August 4th, 2011
8:14 am

The democrats are counting on their buddies in the press to give them cover so that the real issues are not discussed.

dsetin dawg

August 4th, 2011
11:47 am

Can’t be anti business… pro Union… and create jobs…. I don’t have any ” HOPE ” and very little ” CHANGE ” left… take your Unions dues and invest in an IRA… then you’ll have something after 30 years….

marcuscassius

August 4th, 2011
12:02 pm

I know that when the 2% richest Republicans have all the money safely tucked away. When the rest of us are living on $2 an hour with now benifits, social security or welfare to fall back on, somehow that will signal that the GOP is right.Everything will be great and we’ll all be happy. Uneducated, starving and sick. Working till we die at our jobs. but happy. I’m sure they’re right.

destin dawg

August 4th, 2011
12:39 pm

marcus… Whoah …. way too partisan there boy…. fact check.. many of the richest 2% are democrats… Holliwood entertainment types… Obama’s class warfare gets you idiots all fired up…. read brain washed….Your hero… Michael Moore.. with his movies books, etc.. he’s in the upper2%… Dumba$$