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Congress Passes Bill Putting Air Traffic Controllers Back To Work

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – There’s big news Friday if you’re planning to take a trip anytime soon.

Late Thursday night, Congress made a move to alleviate flight delays caused by the furloughs of air traffic controllers. Lawmakers have been taking a lot of criticism this week for the thousands of flight delays across the country because of the furloughed air traffic control workers.

Late Thursday, the Senate passed hurry-up legislation to put an end to the furloughs and the House is expected to vote as soon as Friday on the measure. The furloughs came after the Federal Aviation Administration made cuts to fulfill its portion of spending cuts, known as the sequester, that took effect last month at several government agencies.

Under the legislation passed by the Senate, the FAA would gain authority to transfer about $250 million from accounts that are flushed into other programs. Not only would the move restore full staffing to air traffic controllers, Senate officials believe it should prevent the closure of small airport towers across the country.

Critics said this is no more than a temporary band-aid that fails to address the bigger threat to our economy posed by the sequester’s across-the-board cuts.

The House is expected to pass the legislation Friday, which is just in time for their week-long break. It’s unclear how soon the 15,000 furloughed air traffic controllers could all be back on their normal work schedules.

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