Congress narrowly avoided another Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shutdown after the Senate approved a measure to extend FAA operating authority funding through January 2012 and funding for transportation programs through March 2012.
The House passed a “clean” extension without the GOP’s anti-labor provisions and other demands that caused the FAA shutdown in August. The FAA was headed toward another shutdown after Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma single-handedly blocked the bill because he didn’t like certain provisions in the transportation funding. Coburn withdrew his hold at the last minute, clearing the way for passage and for President Obama to sign the bill just in time to avert another shutdown.
The temporary funding measure delays, but does not eliminate, the GOP push to overturn the new National Mediation Board rules for fairer representation elections for transportation workers under the jurisdiction of the Railway Labor Act.