Congress Takes Up Measure to End FAA Furloughs

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Congress is trying to end the air traffic controller furloughs that are blamed for widespread flight delays this week.

The Senate voted Thursday night to erase about $200 million in cuts to the Federal Aviation Administration. The House could decide on the measure Friday.

The cuts came as part of the sequester, designed to trim America's massive deficit spending. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says she would rather cancel all $85 billion of those budget cuts, but she's willing to back a bill just for the FAA if the details are satisfactory.

House Transportation Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., said, "We're willing to look at what the Senate's going to propose."

He said he believes the FAA has the authority it needs under existing law to shift funds and end the furloughs of air traffic controllers, and any legislation should be "very, very limited" and direct the agency to use the flexibility it already has.

Another House Republican, Rep. James Lankford of Oklahoma, said FAA employees "are being used as pawns by this (Obama) administration to be able to implement the maximum amount of pain on the American people when it does not have to be this way."

The White House and congressional Democrats dispute such claims.

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