At least something constructive has happened this week.
The Senate will pass the House’s bill to fund the Federal Aviation Administration through September to end the week-and-a-half long partial shutdown of the agency, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Thursday.
Under a deal Reid made with House Speaker John Boehner, the Senate will pass the House bill that includes cuts to rural flight service to airports in Nevada, West Virginia and Montana. But Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will use his authority to waive the airports from the cuts, ending a 13 day impasse that left 4,000 FAA workers and about 70,000 construction workers out of work.
In a statement, Reid announced, “I am pleased to announce that we have been able to broker a bipartisan compromise between the House and the Senate to put 74,000 transportation and construction workers back to work. This agreement does not resolve the important differences that still remain. But I believe we should keep Americans working while Congress settles its differences, and this agreement will do exactly that.”
As part of this resolution, the Senate will pass the House version, and the administration will simply waive the cuts Republicans included in this version as part of a silly stunt to hurt 13 rural airports, specifically targeting airports in the home states of Harry Reid (the Senate Majority Leader), Jay Rockefeller (chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee), and Max Baucus (chairman of the Senate Finance Committee that has jurisdiction over the aviation tax portions of the bill).
So, the good news is, the FAA shutdown will end and tens of thousands of construction workers can get back to work. The less-good news is that this resolution is the 21st temporary extension of the funding measure to be approved in a row, and will simply allow the chambers to go back to fighting again, with the GOP trying to undermine the rights of industry workers to form a union and Dems fighting to protect workers’ rights.
These days, it’s what passes for effective policymaking and compromise.