In voting for House legislation that allows the Federal Aviation Administration to use existing funds to manage employee furloughs under sequestration, Congressman Ander Crenshaw criticized the Obama Administration for playing politics with the nation's airlines and its passengers.
"Rather than fix a problem, the Obama Administration chose to score political points at the expense of the nation's airlines and its passengers. It's unfortunate that Congress had to step in to help put flights back on schedule," said Crenshaw. "When the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) knew about the potential impact of sequestration and furloughs - snarled flights and delays - it chose politics over passengers. The bottom line: the FAA already had the authority to reallocate existing funds to address the potential impact of furloughs and prevent airline delays. Yet, they waited until April 16 to let Congress know of plans to begin furloughing air traffic controllers and other employees on April 21."
The Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013 which gives the FAA flexibility over how it utilizes existing funds passed by a vote of 361 - 41. The measure passed the United States Senate on April 25 and now goes to the President's desk to be signed into law.
According to a fact sheet from the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure:
The FAA has chosen NOT to implement furloughs in a way that could protect the most critical air traffic control operations and facilities.
* FAA has 47,000 employees, of which 15,500 are air traffic controllers.
* Air traffic controllers are being furloughed at the same rate as non-controllers (up to 11 days between now and the end of September).
* Furloughs are being applied at the same rate at the largest, busiest facilities as at the smallest facilities with minimal amounts of operations.
* For example, the FAA is implementing furloughs at the same rate at Waterloo Regional Airport in Iowa (79 operations per day) as at the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center (3,000,000 operations per year, or 8,200 per day)
The FAA has known about the sequester for over a year and a half, but gave Congress and the airline industry less than a week's notice about its implementation plans.
The FAA has the flexibility to reduce costs elsewhere, and has yet to exercise existing authorities to reduce the impact of delays on the traveling public.
There are $2.7 billion in non-personnel Operations costs -- such as contracts, travel, supplies, and consultants -- that should be examined before FAA personnel are furloughed.
Examples of non-personnel costs include:
* Nearly $500 million for consultants.
* $325 million in supplies and travel.
* The FAA has 46 aircraft that cost $143 million to operate.