• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Obama signs bill to end partial FAA shutdown

The congressional standoff over the FAA is over. The Senate approved a bill on Friday, ending the two-week partial shutdown.
August 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The congressional standoff over the Federal Aviation Administration is over. The Senate approved a bill on Friday, ending the two-week partial shutdown.

President Barack Obama signed it into law, clearing the way for nearly 4,000 employees to return to work on Monday and hundreds of airport construction projects to resume.

Employing the so-called "unanimous consent" procedure which took less than 30 seconds, two senators were present to approve a House-passed bill extending FAA's operating authority through mid-September. Democratic Sen. James Webb of Virginia stood up, called up the bill and asked that it be passed. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., the presiding officer, agreed and it was done.

The shutdown has cost the government about $400 million in uncollected airline ticket taxes and idled thousands of construction workers.

"This impasse was an unnecessary strain on local economies across the country at a time when we can't allow politics to get in the way of our economic recovery," Obama said in a statement. "So I'm glad that this stalemate has finally been resolved."

The bipartisan compromise reached Thursday cleared the way for Senate passage of the House bill, extending the FAA's operating authority through mid-September.

The shutdown began when Washington was transfixed by the stalemate over increasing the government's debt limit. During that time, the FAA furloughed some workers but kept air traffic controllers and most safety inspectors on the job. Forty airport safety inspectors worked without pay, picking up their own travel expenses.

Some 70,000 workers on construction-related jobs on airport projects from Palm Springs, Calif., to New York City were idled as the FAA couldn't pay for the work.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Load Comments