U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson today released the following statement in response to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announcing that local air traffic control towers could be shut down because of sequestration. Towers at the Napa County Airport and the Charles M. Schulz--Sonoma County Airport could be closed.
"These political games being played by the House Majority in Washington are costing real people their jobs here at home and unnecessarily putting people's safety at risk," said Thompson. "This needs to stop. If sequestration goes into effect we will see arbitrary, harsh, across-the-board budget cuts that Republicans, Democrats, economists and business leaders all say would send our economy into a tail spin and cause essential government services, like air traffic control, to close. In California alone sequestration would cost us more than 225,000 jobs. Instead of this manufactured crisis, we need a balanced, bold plan that creates jobs, cuts spending, reforms our tax code so that everyone is paying their fair share and protects Social Security and Medicare. That's what I am working for."
Both the Napa County Airport and the Charles M. Schulz--Sonoma County Airport would be forced to furlough or release a number of employees if their respective air traffic control towers close, even temporarily.
All planes at both airports would be operating in uncontrolled airspace. Currently, almost all flights in and out of these airports is during controlled air times. Should these air towers close, the closest FAA air traffic control towers would be at the Sacramento International Airport and the Oakland International Airport.
Sequestration is a result of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, or "supercommittee", failing to reach a solution to cut government spending last year. Legislation was written that said if no compromise was reached by the supercommittee then $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts would take place over the next decade. These cuts will come equally from defense and non-defense spending. It is estimated that sequestration would result in cuts totaling $85 billion in the remaining months of this fiscal year.