'Dysfunction' in Congress led to FAA furloughs

Thursday - 8/4/2011, 9:29am EDT

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on FAA furloughs

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Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on GPO bill

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By Jack Moore
Federal News Radio

The FAA remains in a state of partial shutdown: Some 4,000 employees have been furloughed, more than 200 airport construction projects have been put on hold and about 70,000 other private-sectors workers have been laid off.

Meanwhile, Congress remains deadlocked over a provision in the FAA bill providing subsidies for rural airports, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said.

However, he told the Federal Drive earlier this week that he doesn't support a bill to provide back-pay for furloughed workers.

"When people aren't working, they're not producing," Coburn said. "I agree: it's not (the FAA employees') fault. But the fact is, is that they didn't produce anything of value. And I don't think we should reward that."

The situation is "unfortunate," Coburn acknowledged. "But what it shows is the dysfunction of Congress. We have our priorities all messed up."

The senator also discussed a recent legislative push to put federal agency reports online in an easy-to-search format.

According to the bill, which Coburn has co-sponsored, the Government Printing Office would launch and maintain an website that would publish electronic copies of all agency reports required by Congress.

The senator said the idea is to give the public the same information provided to lawmakers.