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Flight delays sway Congress to let FAA ground furlough plan

Furloughed air traffic controllers soon will return to work, ending a week of coast-to-coast flight delays that upset thousands of travelers.
By ALAN FRAM Modified: April 26, 2013 at 9:22 pm •  Published: April 27, 2013
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/articleid/3803818/1/pictures/2037537">Photo - A passenger sits at right in the international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson airport, Friday, April 26, 2013, in Atlanta. Congress easily approved legislation Friday ending furloughs of air traffic controllers that have delayed hundreds of flights daily, infuriating travelers and causing political headaches for lawmakers.(AP Photo/David Goldman) ORG XMIT: GADG102
A passenger sits at right in the international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson airport, Friday, April 26, 2013, in Atlanta. Congress easily approved legislation Friday ending furloughs of air traffic controllers that have delayed hundreds of flights daily, infuriating travelers and causing political headaches for lawmakers.(AP Photo/David Goldman) ORG XMIT: GADG102

In the week since furloughs began, news accounts have featured nightmarish tales of delayed flights and stranded air passengers. Republicans used the situation to accuse the Obama administration of forcing controllers to take unpaid days off to dial up public pressure on Congress to roll back the sequester.

“The president has an obligation to implement these cuts in a way that respects the American people, rather than using them for political leverage,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a written statement.

Obama and his Democratic allies want to roll back the entire sequester, with the White House proposing a substitute mix of spending cuts and tax increases that Republicans have rejected. The GOP has proposed replacing the across-the-board spending cuts with others, many of them aimed at programs Democrats defend.

The new bill will let the FAA use up to $253 million from an airport improvement program and other accounts to halt the furloughs through the Sept. 30 end of the government's fiscal year.


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