Reid Says Deal Reached to Reopen FAA, Restore Jobs

Photographer: Chris Rank/Bloomberg

Planes take off at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. Close

Planes take off at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta.

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Photographer: Chris Rank/Bloomberg

Planes take off at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta.

Lawmakers have reached an agreement to allow funding to reopen the Federal Aviation Administration, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today.

“I am pleased to announce that we have been able to broker a bipartisan compromise between the House and the Senate to put 74,000 transportation and construction workers back to work,” Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said in an e-mailed statement.

“This agreement does not resolve the important differences that still remain,” Reid said. “But I believe we should keep Americans working while Congress settles its differences, and this agreement will do exactly that.”

Republicans and Democrats were divided over whether to make it harder for airline workers to unionize and over subsidies for rural airports. President Barack Obama spoke with House Speaker John Boehner about resolving the dispute, White House spokesman Jay Carney said earlier today.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will grant waivers to individual airports on a case-by-case basis to enable the FAA to continue operating, an administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Existing federal law allows the secretary to grant waivers, the official said.

Boehner’s spokesman, Mike Steel, said “I do not expect any further action from the House.”

The FAA’s funding authority expired at midnight July 22 when Congress failed to extend it for a 21st time. The agency has been operating on a series of 20 short-term extensions since 2007, when its last multi-year funding authorization ran out.

To contact the reporters on this story: Laura Litvan in Washington at llitvan@bloomberg.net Lisa Caruso in Washington at lcaruso7@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net; Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net

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