A quarrel between the House and Senate over union organizing is threatening to prevent congressional action necessary to keep the Federal Aviation Administration operating, raising the possibility of a shutdown of the agency later this week.
The FAA's 15,500 air traffic controllers are essential employees and would continue to work even if the agency's operating authority were to expire, Republican lawmakers told the House Rules Committee on Tuesday.
FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown declined to comment on the agency's plans in case its operating authority expires.
However, former FAA Administrator Marion Blakey said it's likely other workers would face furloughs. The agency employs about 32,000 workers in addition to controllers. The extent of the furloughs would depend in part on how much cash is available in the federal trust fund for aviation programs and how long the shutdown goes on, she said.
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