Congressman Steve Daines today called on President Barack Obama and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to put a stop to the political posturing behind furloughing of American air traffic controllers, leading to thousands of delayed and canceled flights nationwide.
In a press conference held this afternoon, Daines stood with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) to bring to light how the Obama administration's choice to furlough air traffic controllers, rather than find alternative savings within the FAA budget, was impacting American travelers.
"It is ridiculous that hard-working Montanans and Americans are canceling summer trips because the President and the FAA would rather play politics than find real solutions and some common sense cuts," Daines stated. "The President is putting politics ahead of passengers. And it needs to end."
Daines noted that in the days since the FAA began furloughing air traffic controllers, Montanans have contacted his office expressing concern that flight delays may make it difficult to plan summer trips or travel in and out of Montana for business purposes.
On Sunday, April 21, 2013, the FAA chose to begin furloughing air traffic controllers and all other employees in order to implement sequestration and meet required savings of five percent. Although the Administration knew about the potential for sequestration since November 2011, it waited until April 16, 2013 -- just days before the furloughs were set to begin -- to inform Congress and U.S. airlines of its plans and warn that major delays could result.
The FAA furloughs have resulted in over 40 percent of flights being delayed or canceled.