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Coats Calls for Halting of Air Traffic Controller Furloughs

April 25, 2013
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  04/26/13 Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, today called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to immediately halt the recent furloughs that have sidelined 1,500 air traffic controllers and caused significant travel disruptions across the country.

In his speech, Coats questioned the FAA’s decision to implement “across the board” furloughs as a result of sequestration given the FAA’s previous public statements that it would implement these reductions with minimal impact on travelers. The FAA could have used existing reprogramming authorities to minimize the impacts, such as cuts to the $541 million it spent on consultants or the $2.7 billion it spent on non-personnel costs in 2012, rather than enact across the board furloughs causing flight delays.

Audio and video of the speech is available by clicking here.

Below are excerpts from his speech:

“As many Americans who travel on a regular basis know, on Sunday April 21, the FAA began implementing ‘across the board furloughs of employees and air traffic controllers. The FAA says these cuts will result in as many as 6,700 delays per day. To put these delays into context, the worst weather day in 2012 resulted in more than 2,900 flight delays, so the FAA’s projected 6,700 delays per day would more than double the worst day in 2012.”

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“This is disingenuous. This is mismanagement at its worst. It’s incompetence at its worst. It’s a failure to do what every agency has been required to do – plan for this.”

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“This administration needs to step up to the plate and take some accountability. The President created and signed into law the sequestration policy.  His administration has known for more than 12 months that this policy was imminent. And they did nothing to prepare effectively. Mr. President, our country is a long way from getting our spending under control so it’s time the administration stops looking for excuses and starts managing its budget effectively.”

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