UPDATE: Friday, April 26, 2013
The White House says President Barack Obama will sign a measure approved by Congress today that would end the furloughs of air traffic controllers. But a spokesman says it's just a "Band-Aid solution" to the problems caused by automatic spending cuts.
Controllers were furloughed for one day out of ten because of the cuts at the Federal Aviation Administration and other federal agencies. It caused a ten-percent staffing reduction in control towers, and led to hundreds of flight delays a day.
Republicans are accusing the administration of purposely furloughing the controllers in order to cause delays and pressure Congress to put back the money that had been cut.
But the White House and Democrats argue that under the law, the administration has little room to decide where the cuts fall.
In addition to restoring full staffing by controllers, the money provided by the legislation that won final approval today could be used for other FAA operation, including preventing the closure of small airport towers around the country.
Friday, April 26, 2013
Congress has easily approved legislation ending furloughs of air traffic controllers that have delayed hundreds of flights daily.
The House approved the measure Friday on a 361-41 vote, one day after the Senate agreed to the bill. The action came with lawmakers streaming toward the doors for a week-long spring recess.
The Federal Aviation Administration has furloughed the controllers as part of the government-wide, $85 billion spending cuts called the sequester.
Republicans are accusing the Obama administration of using the controller furloughs to put political pressure on Congress to roll back all the cuts. Airline delays have infuriated travelers and caused headaches for lawmakers.
Democrats largely went along with the bill but said all the cuts should be lifted.