A government shutdown could cause major travel delays for Americans as some 2,600 air traffic controllers in training at the Federal Aviation Administration will be forced to go home, says Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
“Especially when it comes to transportation, the consequences would be disruptive and dangerous,” Buttigieg said at a press conference.
Congress has little time left to avoid a shutdown, and it still doesn’t have a plan.
The Democratic-led U.S. Senate forged ahead Thursday with a bipartisan stopgap funding bill aimed at averting what would be the fourth partial government shutdown in a decade. The House, meanwhile, prepared to vote on partisan Republican spending bills that have no chance of becoming law.
The divergent paths of the two chambers appear to have increased the odds that federal agencies will run out of money on Sunday, furloughing hundreds of thousands of federal workers and halting a wide range of services, from economic data releases to nutrition benefits.
More than 17,000 employees will have to be furloughed by the FAA if a spending bill is not passed by Sept. 30, the administration said Thursday.
The U.S. Travel Association said a partial shutdown would cost the U.S. travel industry as much as $140 million a day.
During a government shutdown, the U.S. air travel system would be “hampered by more flight delays, longer screening lines, and setbacks in air travel modernization,” the group said.
Past federal government shutdowns caused “significant delays and longer wait times for travelers,” the White House said.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, on Thursday said there wasn’t a specific plan for [FAA] “because there’s so many areas that are important that need to be extended, as well.”
Discussions about passing any standalone bills in the House, such as one that would extend the FAA’s expiring authorities, are “frozen,” added Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla.
“What the Senate should be doing is passing our FAA bill, not stripping it to pass a [continuing resolution] that’s dead here in the House,” Donalds said. “If you had that good faith, even with the Senate, you could figure out a single-issue situation dealing with air traffic control and FAA.”
Air traffic controllers and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security officers are among the government workers who would be required to keep working, though they would not be paid.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.
Solange Reyner ✉
Solange Reyner is a writer and editor for Newsmax. She has more than 15 years in the journalism industry reporting and covering news, sports and politics.
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