Congressman Jim Moran, Senator Tim Kaine, Congressman Gerry Connolly, and representatives from U.S. air travel associations and employee organizations today called on Congress to find a solution to address sequestration. The lawmakers joined air travel groups at a press conference warning travelers of the possible impact of drastic cuts to agencies that ensure safe and efficient air travel for nearly two million travelers every day.
"Sequestration will not just impact federal employees; it will affect every American who flies for business or vacation," said Rep. Moran. "We cannot allow a manufactured crisis to harm air travel, which serves as an engine powering our economy. Congress has five days to do its job and find a balanced solution to stop sequestration."
Potential impacts of sequestration cuts to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) include:
As much as 10 percent of FAA employees furloughed on any given day;
An additional hour wait at security checkpoints;
12 -- 14 day furloughs for CBP Officers and Patrols;
Thousands of missed connecting flights; and
Reducing 2,750 CBP Officers and 5,000 Border Patrol Agents
"Sequestration cuts will cause enormous damage across Virginia if both parties are unable to come together to avert them," said Sen. Kaine. "Whether it's WARN notices for shipyard workers or limited training for sailors in Hampton Roads, tens of thousands of furloughed workers in Northern Virginia, or delays and hassles at airports like the one we visited today, few Virginians will be spared from its impact. There is only one way to solve this -- through compromise and a balanced approach. I will continue to work with members of our delegation and my Senate colleagues this week in hopes of reaching an agreement."
"Failure to address these cuts would result in furloughs of up to two weeks for airport screeners, customs officers and air traffic controllers, representing as much as 10 percent of the aviation workforce on any given day," said Rep. Connolly. "This adds up to less security at our airports, longer wait times for travelers, and lost economic opportunities. Congress must act in a swift, balanced fashion to stop these across the board cuts."
"PASS is extremely concerned regarding the serious impacts sequestration will have on the aviation system," said Richard Casey, vice president of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS). "Sequestration will reduce the capacity of the system, furlough every FAA employee and seriously impact the FAA's ability to continue in its modernization efforts. PASS urges lawmakers to work together to develop a solution that avoids these budget cuts and allows the continued safe and efficient operation of this country's aviation system."
"The impact of sequestration cannot be underestimated, because at the very time many of our passengers are contemplating their next business trip or family vacation, our pilots are looking at a future in which they will have no other choice than to leave those passengers stranded at the gate," said Capt. Sean Cassidy, first vice president for the Air Line Pilots Association Int'l. "I urge Congress to move swiftly to avoid the damage of sequestration on our air traffic system and our broader economy."
"These across-the-board cuts may punish travelers with flight delays, long security lines at Transportation Security Agency checkpoints and multi-hour waits to clear Customs and Border Protection," said Geoff Freeman, COO, U.S. Travel Association. "Travel has led the nation's economic recovery by creating jobs faster than the rest of the economy, and there is absolutely no excuse for travelers in one of the world's most advanced nations to suffer through a travel process that wastes their precious time and resources."
"The sequestration will have a devastating impact on the Transportation Security Administration. It will mean that thousands of hard-working, dedicated public servants, who ensure the safety of air travel in the U.S. will be furloughed and security screening lines will back up out the door of the terminals. Many people will miss their flights, which will have a ripple effect on the rest of the economy, said Chad E. Harris, Acting Supervising Attorney (TSA), American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE).
To read a fact sheet on the possible impact sequestration would have on air travel, please visit: http://moran.house.gov/sites/moran.house.gov/files/documents/FACTSHEET_Sequestration%20on%20Air%20Travel.pdf