WASHINGTON, D.C. — National Air Traffic Controllers Association President Paul Rinaldi is urgently appealing to Congress not to adjourn for its August recess until it passes an FAA bill that would return 4,000 laid off FAA employees (of which NATCA represents 1,200) and 70,000 laid off construction workers back to their jobs.
“All we are asking is for Congress not to leave Washington,” he said. “Just don’t leave. There’s unfinished work on this FAA bill. There’s too much at stake for our aviation system and the dedicated professionals who maintain and improve it.
“Since this morning, Congress squandered another $30 million in lost revenue for critical projects that affect the safety, efficiency and modernization of our aviation system, bringing the total to over $270 million lost since the start of this FAA partial shutdown 10 days ago, along with leaving 4,000 FAA employees and 70,000 construction workers laid off and in limbo,” he continued. “Congress must not leave this unfinished business on its desk before adjourning for the August recess. If that happens, it would mean Congress, by the time it returns in six weeks, would have taken $1.5 billion out of the aviation system.
“Every day of this shutdown means a lost day of progress for the system and a lost day of pay for these laid off employees. This bill directly impacts the lives of real people, including skilled aviation professionals who play a vital role in the safety critical function of the FAA. They have families who rely on them. They have bills, mortgages, rents and student loans. Some have kids in college and tuition is soon going to be due for the fall semester.
“This game of politics has turned these employees’ lives and a large and important part of the aviation system upside down. It’s unfair and unacceptable. Congress MUST end this stalemate before it leaves Washington for recess.”