Mica: No end to FAA standstill in sight

Friday - 7/29/2011, 2:46pm EDT

Emily Kopp, Reporter, Federal News Radio

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By Emily Kopp
Reporter
Federal News Radio

Congress continues to stand still on Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization as 4,000 FAA employees head into their second week of furloughs. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) says he is meeting regularly with FAA officials, the White House and Senate Democrats.

"My job to get the car out of the ditch, and I'm going to do everything possible to move things forward," Mica told Federal News Radio Thursday.

But he foresees no end to the quagmire, unless Senate Democrats agree to a measure that House Republicans included in a temporary FAA reauthorization bill. The provision would end subsidies for air service to certain rural airports.

Mica said that roadblock would have to be moved before the House would consider a Senate bill to provide back pay to furloughed FAA employees.

"No legislation will be considered until we get a resolution of moving forward, either with an extension—one that's been pending for more than a week in the Senate now—or we get a long-term bill enacted and we can negotiate at the same time making people whole who have been damaged by this," he said.

He estimated that the FAA was losing $25 million each day that the partial shutdown continues. Much of that revenue normally comes from taxes on airplane tickets. Mica doubted there was a way for the government to recoup that money, and criticized airlines for hiking their fees to make a profit rather than collecting money on the government's behalf.

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