The Republic is safe again. Until next time.

We are happy to report Congress finally got around to doing at least part of its job and earlier today passed legislation extending FAA funding. For those who care, the Senate adopted by unanimous consent a House-passed bill containing the extension along with a provision eliminating funding for the Essential Air Service (EAS) program. The EAS, which subsidizes scheduled service to small, rural airports, has been a bone of contention between assholes in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House-passed bill eliminates EAS funding for certain airports, which happen to be in states represented by the Senate’s aviation leadership and Majority Leader.

Today’s extension resolves a two-week-long funding impasse, which forced the FAA to furlough some 4000 employees paid via the Airport and Airways Trust Fund. Importantly, many FAA employees — including air traffic controllers and operations inspectors — are not paid from the Trust Fund but from general revenues, so their functions were not impeded. The childish, immature spat disagreement between the two houses is estimated to have cost some $30 million a day in lost airline ticket tax revenues, which expired along with part of the FAA’s operating authority.

The Senate’s action comes after both houses of Congress adjourned for the August Recess. Presumably, all but two Senators flew home to begin their summer of vacations and fundraising and continued malfeasance.

When Congress reconvenes in early September, FAA funding will again be on the table, as the bill passed today extends the agency only through mid-September. At that time, Members of Congress will have three basic choices. First, enact a pending FAA reauthorization bill containing provisions opposed by some airlines which seek to overturn a National Mediation Board rule under which uncast votes in a union election cannot be counted as “no” votes — as was previously the case — and simply aren’t counted at all. This provision is in the Senate-passed FAA reauthorization, which is opposed by assholes in the House.

A second option is to enact yet another extension of the FAA’s authorization. Today’s action was the 21st such extension since 2007. A third option would be to do nothing and allow the FAA once again to at least partially cease operating.

We wouldn’t even bet a milkshake on the outcome. Not that we feel strongly about any of this, mind you.


One Comment

  1. Beautifully written, logically argued. This is an excellent piece. If only the crossed out passages were still included. Those are the best parts.