WASHINGTON — In a quick and unanticipated session on Thursday night, the U.S. Senate approved a resolution that would allow the Federal Aviation Administration budget flexibility to stop furloughing air traffic controllers.
The measure, approved by unanimous consent, came just days after forced unpaid leaves for controllers began, delaying thousands of flights — 876 flights were delayed on Wednesday alone, the FAA said. Titled the “Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013,” the resolution provides the Secretary of Transportation the power to transfer up to $253 million in pre-existing funds to “prevent reduced operations and staffing” at the FAA.
Senate Republican aides were quick to note that the resolution would not change the $637 million reduction in the FAA budget mandated by sequestration. Instead, it would allow for the cuts to come from programs other than the operations account, 70 percent of which is devoted to salaries. One top aide said airport improvement program funds would likely be used to stop the furloughs. The bill only says that the money will come from “grants-in-aid for airports.
Read the full story here: via FAA Furloughs: Senate Reaches Deal To Avoid Air Traffic Delays.