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House votes to end air traffic controller furloughs

U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren issued the following news release Friday:

WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Randy Hultgren (IL-14) released the following statement on final passage in the U.S. House of Representatives of a bill to end the furloughs of 15,000 air traffic controllers implemented this week by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a result of the President’s sequester.

"Today we acted to restore stability and safety to our national air travel system," Hultgren said. "We could not let the White House continue to play politics with the jobs of frontline safety personnel or the lives of the thousands of travelers who depend on efficient and secure flights every day. I urge the President to sign the bill immediately so that air travel can return to normal and allow us to shift our attention back to solving the fundamental spending problem in Washington. Jobs and economic growth must be our priority moving forward."

The measure, which passed the House Friday morning by a vote of 361-41, would let the Department of Transportation transfer $253 million in FAA funding into the operations account that pays for air traffic controller salaries. The bill now goes to the President for signature.

Aviation industry officials had sought independent legal counsel who concluded that the FAA, under the direction of the President, already has the existing legal authority to avoid furloughs without congressional action; heightening credible suspicion that the furloughs were politically-motivated, just like the President's cancellation of White House tours in March.

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