The Federal Aviation Administration partially shut down today. When the U.S. Senate adjourned Friday without reauthorizing funding, the FAA furloughd some 4,000 workers, without pay.
The Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate are blaming each other for failing to pass an extension of taxes that help fund the FAA. Last Wednesday, the House approved an extension of the FAA taxes until Sept. 16, but that extension included language that would prohibit federal subsidies from going to small airports in Montana, Nevada and New Mexico because tickets there are subsidized at more than $1,000 per ticket. The House extension included language eliminating subsidies to 10 small airports because they are within 90 miles of a medium or large airport.
The White House said the shutdown will not affect air safety. Air traffic controllers are required to remain on the job. But airlines will lose the authority to collect about $200 million a week in ticket taxes that go into a trust fund that pays for FAA programs. FAA employees whose jobs are paid for with the trust fund money are being furloughed, including nearly 1,000 workers at the agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C., 647 workers at a technology and research center in Atlantic City, and 124 workers at a training center in Oklahoma City.