U.S. Representative Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today lambasted the U.S. Senate for delaying extension of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs, aiming for another partial shutdown that will again furlough FAA employees, delay airport construction projects and issue stop-work orders to contractors assigned to the NEXTGEN project. Failure to pass the House-passed extension by midnight on Friday, September 16th would result in another partial shutdown of the FAA.
"It is crystal clear that the House does not want a repeat of the partial shutdown that furloughed nearly 4,000 FAA employees, prevented tens of thousands of construction workers from moving forward on airport projects, and issued stop-work orders to contractors working on NEXTGEN. We learned the lesson of what the shutdown did to the economy, to small businesses contracting with the FAA and to the livelihoods of tens of thousands of affected families. Clearly the Senate is too dense to learn those lessons and their dysfunction - yet again - threatens the livelihood of the FAA and our nation's aviation network," blasted LoBiondo.
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives unanimously passed the 22nd extension of the FAA authorization and programs, extending them through January 31, 2012. As requested by Senate Majority Leader Reid, the House passed a straight-forward extension that was "clean" of any policy changes or extraneous issues, hoping to avoid a repeat of the two-week partial shutdown that occurred this summer. With mere hours until a partial shutdown would again take place, the Senate has yet to pass this extension.
LoBiondo's South Jersey district is home to the William J Hughes FAA Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township, the lead facility in developing, testing and implementing the aviation modernization initiative known as NEXTGEN. During the summer partial shutdown, nearly 650 employees from the FAA Technical Center and hundreds of local contractors and construction workers were furloughed. LoBiondo is the only New Jersey member of the House Aviation Subcommittee.