Unable to attend a Capitol Hill press conference today, U.S. Representative Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) issued the following statement regarding the ongoing stalemate that has caused a partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). LoBiondo represents nearly 650 furloughed FAA employees from the William J. Hughes FAA Technical Center, which is adjacent to the Atlantic City International Airport.
"For more than two weeks, the Senate has irresponsibly gambled with the livelihoods of tens of thousands of workers. With economic recovery stalled and rising unemployment, this risky behavior is incomprehensible and indefensible. It is clear the solution has always been in the Senate's hands," said LoBiondo. "While some individual Senators disagree, the House-passed bill could have prevented two weeks of financial hardship for furloughed employees and contractors, work stoppages on critical projects such as NEXTGEN, and lost revenue to the government. The House has played its cards and it's time for the Senate to ante up."
At midnight on July 22nd, 4,000 FAA employees nationwide, including nearly 650 at the FAA Technical Center, were furloughed. Additionally, aviation construction projects and 27 contracts associated with the NEXTGEN project were halted in South Jersey.
"With double-digit unemployment in South Jersey, this preventable shutdown only further hurts our economic recovery," continued LoBiondo. "It has stopped work on dozens of NEXTGEN contracts, delaying implementation of this critical aviation modernization project and causing significant hardship on local contractors and small businesses. The House has sent the Senate a solution; the Senate has presented no such options to the House. It is long past time to accept the House bill and get these workers back on the job. The FAA shutdown must end this week."
This would have been the 21st extension for the FAA, which has been operating without a full four-year authorization bill since 2007.