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FAA shutdown ends after Senate passes bill

by Adam Russett on August 5, 2011

Although the standoff over raising the debt-ceiling ended on Tuesday, it was not until today that one stalemate was able to resolved. The Senate approved legislation to end a 12-day shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that affected thousands of workers.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the bill would ensure that the FAA would operate at least through September. At the crux of the disagreement was a divide between Republicans and Democrats on issues including rural airport subsidies and the rules for aviation unions. The impasse had put a hold on a number of airport construction projects, something which President Barack Obama said put a strain on the already fragile economy.

"I'm pleased that leaders in Congress are working together to break the impasse involving the FAA so that tens of thousands of construction workers and others can go back to work," Obama said in a statement. "We can't afford to let politics in Washington hamper our recovery."

The original squabble was specifically over the fact that a GOP-sponsored House bill wanted to cut the $16.6 million given to 13 small airports. The compromise bill passed on Friday will hand over authority to the transportation secretary to hand out the subsidies, with Congress taking up the issue later this year.

In addition to putting construction employees temporarily out of work, the shutdown made it impossible for the administration to collect on millions of dollars of ticket fees, CBS News reports. Since the July 23 shutdown, the United States was cost about $400 million – which comes out to around $30 million a day.

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