Washington, DC – One day after calling on Congressional leaders to act swiftly to return thousands of FAA workers and tens of thousands of construction workers to their jobs, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) presided over a pro forma session of the Senate that ended the 14-day shutdown.
“For two weeks, 4,000 FAA employees and nearly 75,000 construction workers have been held hostage by a Republican House of Representatives that was more interested in advancing an anti-labor agenda and scoring political points than the safety and future of our nation’s aviation infrastructure. For two weeks, I have been imploring my colleagues to put the good of the nation and the livelihood of these workers and their families first by ending this shutdown.
“At a time when our economy can least afford it, the House Republicans needlessly took workers off the job and cost taxpayers approximately $350 million in revenues dedicated to support the maintenance, improvement and operational safety of our complex aviation system.
“Over the last two weeks I have heard from dozens of troubled and angry Maryland FAA employees who were furloughed. I shared their anger at the predicament they were in, which is why I fought to preserve their ability to pay their bills and care for their families, and to receive back pay for the furlough period. These workers were the innocent victims of a political game that the Senate responsibly ended today. This shameful display must never happen again and I urge my colleagues in the House to finally appoint members of the conference committee to work in good faith and negotiate a more permanent solution to reauthorizing FAA funding authority.”
Senator Cardin was the first Senator, after Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), to go to the Senate floor to speak about the impact of the FAA shutdown. Throughout last week’s debate over the debt ceiling, he continued to speak about the human cost of the shutdown, urging his colleagues not to recess until the problem was resolved. He then pressed House and Senate leader to use the pro forma sessions to end this stalemate, saying that it would “completely validate the American public’s distrust and anger with Congress” if we left these workers in limbo.