Senate deal reached on FAA furlough bill - New York News

Congress approves bill to end air travel delays

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The US House of Representatives has approved a bill that would end air traffic control furloughs blamed for inconveniencing large numbers of travelers.

The House approved the measure Friday on a 361-41 vote, one day after the Senate agreed to the bill without even a roll call vote. The action came with lawmakers streaming toward the doors for a week-long spring recess.

Under the measure, the Federal Aviation Administration would gain authority to transfer up to $253 million from accounts that are flush into other programs, to "prevent reduced operations and staffing" through the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year.

Officials said that would likely be enough to restore full staffing for the furloughed controllers, as well as prevent the closure of small airport towers.

Senate officials said the available funds should be ample enough to prevent the closure of small airport towers around the country. The FAA has said it will shut the facilities as it makes its share of $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts -- known as the sequester -- that took effect last month at numerous government agencies.

The Senate acted as the FAA said there had been at least 863 flights delayed on Wednesday "attributable to staffing reductions resulting from the furlough."

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