August 04, 2011

Rahall Statement on FAA Shutdown

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 after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced, subject to Senate approval, a proposal to move the process forward that would end the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA):

“The Republican-driven FAA shutdown has jeopardized tens of thousands of American jobs and caused the Aviation Trust Fund to lose over $350 million in needed revenue.  The willingness of Democrats to take the high road and allow cooler heads to prevail will enable tens of thousands of American workers to return to their jobs until Congress does its job to finish a long-term FAA reauthorization.

“I commend Senator Jay Rockefeller and Majority Leader Harry Reid for their tremendous leadership and commitment to move this process forward, in the face of unwillingness by Republicans to budge from their stubborn ‘my way or the runway’ approach to negotiating.

“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.

“While we have lost over $350 million due to partisan intransigence, the good news is that today’s action will help to get FAA contractors and construction crews back on the clock during the busiest travel and construction season of the year.

“Aviation policy has 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.

“I call on all sides to return to the bargaining table when Congress reconvenes and to be ready to negotiate in good faith to move America forward.  It is my hope that House Republican leaders will immediately appoint a conference committee to work out the remaining differences between the House- and Senate-passed long-term FAA bills. Our Nation’s aviation system – the best in the world – deserves far better than the tomfoolery of the last few weeks.”