WASHINGTON — The Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City would be mostly unaffected by furloughs this weekend if Congress doesn't resolve a standoff over a portion of funding for the Federal Aviation Administration, a Senate spokesman said
Jared Young, a spokesman for Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, said, “According to information we've received from the FAA, the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center will be relatively unaffected by a potential furlough, with approximately 125 employees that could be directly
“However, the Senate is moving forward with an extension of funding, and we do not believe a furlough will take place.”
The Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center has about 7,000 workers, with approximately 5,000 of them direct federal
Wednesday, a Republican-sponsored bill to extend FAA operating authority through Sept. 16 was approved.
However, Senate Democrats said the House bill is unacceptable because Republicans added a provision eliminating about $8.5 million in subsidies for airline service to 13 rural communities in 10 states.
If an extension is not approved, most immediately affected would be FAA programs paid for with airline ticket taxes. Airlines would have to stop collecting federal ticket taxes, although they would continue to collect fees.
Air traffic controllers, deemed essential safety personnel, would stay on the job. But airport construction grants and FAA's implementation of a new air traffic control system based on GPS technology would halt.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said about 4,000 of the FAA's 47,000 employees would be furloughed if an agreement isn't reached.
If enacted, the House bill would be the 21st extension. Senators introduced their own bill on Wednesday without the airline subsidies provision, but it was unclear if they would have time under Senate rules to pass it before Friday night.
Democrats say they won't let a bill pass the Senate with the subsidies provision, which is seen as a way to force them to negotiate with the House on a labor issue.