August 03, 2011

Rahall Statement on 30th Anniversary of the Air Traffic Controller Strike

—Republican-driven FAA Shutdown Threatens Nearly 90,000 American Workers, 3,600 FAA Aviation Experts, Over $1 Billion in Lost Revenue—

Washington, D.C.– U.S. Representative Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, today released the following statement on the 30th anniversary of the air traffic controller strike:

“Thirty years ago this week, thousands of air traffic controllers were fired by President Ronald Reagan for fighting for their rights.  For the next thirty days, thousands of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation experts will continue to be forced off the job without pay because House Republicans decided to go on vacation early instead of sticking around to solve this senseless FAA shutdown.

“The Republican-driven FAA shutdown has jeopardized tens of thousands of American jobs and caused the Aviation Trust Fund to lose over $300 million in needed revenue.  House Republican leaders had the ability to end this shutdown but refused to budge from their stubborn ‘my way or the runway’ approach to negotiating.  Instead of coming together to seek a solution, they attached a policy rider to the FAA extension bill to try to force the Senate to adopt its anti-worker agenda.

“As we have learned over the last 12 days, forcing the FAA to shutdown to score a few political points for Tea Party extremists comes at a great cost to American jobs and our economy.

“Aviation policy has historically never been subject to such toxic political gamesmanship.  I concur with the sentiments of the top Republican Transportation Committee Senator when she said, this week, that the House Republican approach was ‘not honorable’ and ‘did not pass the smell test.’  Aviation is too important to the American economy to be used as a political tool.  It is shameless to employ it to strong-arm the Senate into acquiescing to the House Republican’s ideological assault on the American worker.”