The costs of the FAA fiasco

Just to follow up on yesterday’s item, there was a flurry of activity in the Senate yesterday in the hopes that a partial FAA shutdown could be averted, but in the end, the Republican scheme prevailed. It won’t be resolved until September, at the earliest.

A last-minute Obama administration effort to get the Senate to accept a funding extension that would have returned 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration employees and about 70,000 others to work failed Tuesday as Congress headed home until September.

The House Republicans’ stunt will cost the government $1.2 billion. It will also lay off 70,000 construction workers in the middle of the construction season, which isn’t exactly what this economy needs right now.

Americans who fly this summer will see no notable difference as a consequence of the 4,000 furloughs and layoffs of airport construction workers and support personnel. In addition to airport renovation and expansion projects, the furloughs put a halt to work on a complex navigation system that is seen as the future of the aviation system.

All because Republicans want to make it harder for airline industry workers to unionize.

President Obama referred to the mess as “another Washington-inflicted wound on America.”

Alas, there have been a lot of those lately.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.