posted on March 13, 2013 16:45
Furloughs for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic controllers will begin on April 21, according to Doug Church, a spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA).
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta has said that furloughs may force controllers to shut runways at major airports, including Chicago and Atlanta, which could trigger flight delays of up to 90 minutes. The agency is also considering closing as many as 238 airport towers.
The unpaid time off — at least one day per two-week pay period — is required by mandatory cuts of $627 million from the FAA’s budget under sequestration.
A continuing resolution to fund the government beyond March 27 is actually starting to make some headwind on Capitol Hill. Senators Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) lifted their hold on the funding measure after initially saying they needed more time to read the bill.
The Senate is hoping to conclude work on the measure this week and send it back to the House for a final vote. If the House and Senate do not agree to a measure by March 27, the government could shut down.
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats have begun markup up their fiscal 2014 budget, which will call for nearly $1 trillion in tax increases. Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) has said that her panel’s blueprint will target individual tax preferences used by the wealthy to help bring down a deficit projected to reach $845 billion this year.
The plan will combine that with nearly as much in spending cuts, with approx. $500 billion taken out of domestic spending programs, Murray said. Another $240 billion would come out of the Pentagon’s budget. The combined plan would reduce projected interest payments on the debt by $240 billion. At the same time, the plan calls for an additional $100 billion in economic-stimulus spending.
Murray called it a more balanced deficit-reduction plan than the one being marked up by the House Budget Committee. That markup is in recess, subject to the call of the chair.
Murray’s goal is to complete committee action by March 14 and then get a floor vote next week. Her House counterpart, Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), is following a similar schedule, which would culminate next week with floor votes on radically different budget frameworks.